Wednesday, 28 March 2012

What Kind of iPhone Cases You Can Choose to Protect Your iPhone

When you buy one of the best smart phones available in the market, it deserves to be protected by one of the best iPhone cases. Since there are a wide variety of cases for these phones, it is a good idea to evaluate the ones available in the market in order to buy one of the best.

Custom iPhone cases

If you like a unique case for your smart phone, you must buy one of the custom cases. They are available in some online stores and you have many options to select. Your family photograph could be printed on the case if you like. You have a choice of materials from which you could select one according to your preference. Most of the online stores that offer them give you money back guarantees. These are some of the best iPhone cases available in the market today.

Wallet clutch for iPhone 4/4S

If you are a lady who is looking for one of the best iPhone cases available in the market, wallet clutch for iPhone 4/4S is the best for you. This is a handy way to incorporate your smart phone into your wallet. Made out of premium leather, these iPhone cases along with your wallet could be carried as one unit or you could leave it in your hand bag. This designer clutch has space for your credit cards also.

iPhone bumper

This is one of the best iPhone cases to protect your iPhone in case you drop it. It goes around the back of your smart phone and fits to the sides to make a tight fit. They are provided with metal buttons for power and volume controllers. While protecting your iPhone 4 and 4S, this cover could add style also for your phone.

In case you need an expensive one that is of higher quality some online stores offer similar cases made out of leather. These are also able to provide the same protection to your smart phone but they are more attractive and rich looking.

Cocoon type iPhone cases

These are the best for protecting your iPhone. The phone is left inside the cocoon that is made out of polycarbonate. Since it is a very hard material even if you drop an iPhone that is protect with one of these cases, it will not get damaged. These come in attractive colors for you to select one to personalize it.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Internet Privacy and the Free Lunch

As technology evolves more and more enterprises are adopting online collaboration applications within the workplace. Not so long ago, such a practice was considered only for home users and technology geeks. Security was the main concern back then, and vendors such as RIM and its blackberry service did a magnificent job of providing an email and messaging service, which is considered secure.

In fact, the platform is so secure that service providers carrying the service have no visibility of the messaging platform whatsoever. Corporations suddenly had a secure mobile messaging platform which ticked all the right security boxes. Yes, life was simple back then. We got up and went to work, logged onto our computers, opened the locally installed applications and accessed the data stored on the server in the back office, and got on with our day.

However, something started to change, the mobile workforce. The notebook computer of the 2000's was the last generation of portable computers to be called a laptop. It weighed about the same as a pile of bricks and the battery would only last for a hour, and if you could tolerate the heat it emitted while resting on your lap, you could also become sterile! The cost of a laptop computer was nearly three times that of a comparable desktop computer.

Therefore, only the top executives or elite got one, and they were seen as a fashion accessory, since everyone at the CxO level had a PA or secretary to answer or write correspondence. Once laptops became smaller, more portable and cheaper, the VPN came along to tether them back to the office, and provided secure access to email, files and applications. The concept of mobile workforce is nothing new, insurance companies, banks and sales organisations have been doing it for decades.

What has changed is the efficiency with which these organisations operate. The efficiency has been enabled with technology. Today, every mobile sales person uses a notebook computer, and this has meant the demise of the branch office as the hub of collaboration. Today, entire global organisations have slashed costs and increased productivity and efficiency by having their staff operate from home, the airport, on the road, wherever.

Gone are the days where you clocked out at 5pm and forgot about work until the next day. Technology has meant that we never really stop working, or thinking about it, even on vacation. Fast forward to 2012, the corporate data centre is being replaced by cloud computing. Entire data centres are being virtualized and the mobile workforce is connected to shared resources hosted on the Internet, rather than the corporate HQ.

It would seem today many multinationals have thrown caution to the wind, by embracing cloud computing and the third parties, which host their sensitive corporate data. Organisations are supporting BYOD from employees, relaxing the security protocols, which were once in place and basically trading security for operational efficiency and ease.

What has fascinated me about this transition is witnessing the changing mindset of corporations. Going back some ten years, multinationals would not even entertain the thought of a third party managing its data, let alone, the concept of keeping it all in the cloud. Like everything, cloud computing has its merits and demerits. This article is about technological revolution and how much we are willing to compromise.

Let us look at four scenarios where cloud computing can be compromised, impacting enterprises.

1. Corporate Espionage

Today, Skype and other online calling services are being used more and more for business purposes. The convenience and costs are incredible, a video or audio conference can be setup in seconds and the quality is pretty good as well. However, even though Microsoft, which owns Skype, doesn't record conversations, the vendor keeps all session information for quality purposes. The vendor may share this information with a third party to improve the quality of the service.

There will be a wealth of information reported such as the IP address, user name, computer equipment type, number of calls, duration and location. So, now an unknown third party knows your IP address schema, internal and public, the types of computer on your network, which parts of the world you call and how often. If you are using instant messaging services, then the chat conversations are also available in an unknown public arena. Do you care? IBM recently stopped its employees from using Apple's SIRI voice application on its iPhone smartphone, since Apple would not conform to anonymizing the user session information.

In a cloud environment this is no different. Even if your workforce connects to a dedicated virtual server appliance using encryption, the source and destination IP addresses are still available, and the volume of traffic per session are still available from firewall logs operated by a third party. From a forensics point of view, I know where your sales force are located on the globe, and if an increase of data activity in a specific region occurs, could also provide a valuable indicator for a compeditor

2. Loss of Data (Intellectual Property)

Let us say you move your entire CRM operations into the cloud. You can decrease your operational costs by not having to maintain IT staff and data centres. For your sales force, this is the goldmine, which keeps your business running. Something happens to your cloud provider, a new unknown virus sweeps through all the hosted virtual servers wiping out your data in its path. In the old days, a backup tape could get you up and running after some outage.

But, let us say the provider's automatic backup and the snapshot you made in the cloud are both dead. What then? Amazon EC2 experienced an outage in one of its data centers, admittedly it managed to restore service quite rapidly. However, ultimately you are at the mercy of the provider, if you don't have a solid local backup solution. How quickly can you restore a local backup, do you have a disaster recovery solution which is tried and tested?

3. Criminal Prosecution

In the good old days if your organisation was suspected of any unfavorable activities, authorities needed to secure a search warrant, seize computers and you generally got the impression that something was going down. Today, under the United States' wide-ranging search and seizure terrorism laws, a third party hosting your data is obligated to open the back door into your operations, and most likely without your knowledge.

What happens to your sensitive data once, it has been thoroughly reviewed and found to have no impact on the investigation? Data is promptly deleted erased and forgotten about, obviously! This is the major reason why European companies are so slow on cloud computing adoption. The European privacy laws just don't translate internationally.

4. Privacy

As the cost of Megabyte of storage becomes less and less, your browsing history, online documents and social networking connections, both personal and professional are interconnected, working in tandem to construct a profile of who you are. From the online holiday tickets you buy each year to the fishing tackle box you paid for using paypal, all the descriptions and details of your online activity is recorded and stored, forever. Cross referenced against your business connections and activity these third parties can calculate how much you earn and even when you are paid.

The free lunch!

Is there such a thing as a free lunch, when it comes to the Internet? You can be forgiven for thinking there is. Free 5Gb of disk storage, free Internet calling, free email account, free instant messaging, all these things come at a cost, your privacy. Who would have believed twenty years ago that something as trivial as your email address would be worth something to someone.

Targeted advertising, based on your buying habits are designed to channel as much of your spare change in the direction of the advertisers who collect, store and correlate your online activity. With a billboard on the side of the road, the advertiser doesn't know how effective the advertisement is, how many people called as a result of seeing it. With online advertising, confirmation of success is based on a mouse click, so the campaign can be tuned instantly to be more effective. Do you care?

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Business Card Design Importance and Its Basics

Business cards are cards bearing business information about a company or individual. They are shared during formal introductions as a convenience and a memory aid. It typically includes the giver's name, company affiliation (usually with a logo) and contact information such as street addresses, telephone number(s), fax number, e-mail addresses and website. It can also include telex, bank account and tax code. Traditionally many cards were simple black text on white stock; today a professional business/visiting card will sometimes include one or more aspects of striking visual design.

A business card/visiting card is an integral part of any good marketing plan.In fact it is the most important marketing piece, that a company will have. They are shared during formal introductions as a convenience and a memory aid. Although you can't expect your business card to tell the whole story about your company, but what you should expect it to do is to present a professional image people will remember. A business card can make or break a client's first impression of your company.

It is very necessary to learn the basics such as typography, layout, object placement and printing standards when designing a business card. As all of these elements form a Great Business Card Design, which creates a wonderful impression of your business to your client.

Printing standards have been implemented for a good looking professional design. It is important that you follow these basic standards in order to ensure that your card print as you intend. Most printing companies now require files to have appropriate bleeds and margins or your might get an email to upload new files and in some cases, incur extra fees. To correctly set up your design, you need to download or create a template.

Layout is the sizing, spacing, and placement of content within a window or page. Effective layout is crucial in helping users find what they are looking for quickly, as well as making the appearance visually appealing. Don't forget that a business card is a point of contact, not a brochure. It could be single-handedly be the most important marketing piece for some companies. The object is to leave a lasting impression and create a feeling of class and trust.

Typography is the art and technique of arranging type in order to make language visible. The arrangement of type involves the selection of typefaces, point size, line length, leading (line spacing), adjusting the spaces between groups of letters (tracking) and adjusting the space between pairs of letters (kerning). Limit the number of fonts that you use. Too many type styles can really get confusing. On top of that, it could just be downright ugly. Use a font that compliments the logo or other elements on the card.

Friday, 9 March 2012

How Do Terahertz Metamaterials Work and What Is Their Potential?

Metamaterials are artificial materials designed to provide control of electromagnetic waves. While natural materials are limited in their wave refracting properties due to limitations from the size and pattern of their atoms and molecules, metamaterials' cells are made from are subwavelength metallic resonators, designed to refract electromagnetic waves.

Each metamaterial needs to behave as a homogenous material, with features smaller than the wavelength being controlled. They have a negative refractive index, which is only achievable through artificial materials.

The periodic lattice structures of such metamaterials are created to interact with light's magnetic field with a customised polarization angle. This is currently only possible within a small area of the electromagnetic spectrum (terahertz included, a light wave placed between microwave and infrared on the spectrum), but promise has been shown in the system for developing refracting visible light.

Refraction using the split ring resonator (SRR)
The most common effective unit cell from which the metamaterial is constructed is the split ring resonator (SRR). Terahertz metamaterials utilise the split ring resonator, which is made from a ring with two parallel gaps. These rings and their gaps can be angled to provide the desired direction and angle of refraction, allowing the magnetic field through the gap, and inducing an electric current along the rings.

Possible uses of metamaterials
Just five years since the conception of terahertz metamaterials, research and device development in the field have come a long way, and new concepts of application are still being discovered. Instruments which generate, detect and manipulate terahertz waves can be (and are) used within public health (including non-ionizing medical imaging and tumour detection), counter terrorism and defence (through security detection of chemicals and weapons), and manufacturing quality control and fault detection. The ability to refract terahertz waves has opened up the potential for a huge range of applications in these fields and many more.

A development of photonic metamaterials may make it possible to manipulate optical light in the same way. The ability to control the visible light to move around an item rather than through it enables the possible development of metamaterial cloaking devices; a huge area of study dedicated to rendering something invisible to the human eye. In the field, this could be used for invisibility cloaking members of the Armed Forces (and their vehicles) from enemies. If the light can be diverted around its object and back to its original course, the object won't even leave a shadow.

This groundbreaking field of transformation optics has only recently opened up, but it also studies invisibility cloaking at microwave frequencies. The ability to refract microwaves around an object or person may, eventually, be able to make them invisible to radar.

All of these, and many more possibilities, have been made realistically possible thanks to research in terahertz metamaterials and terahertz wave generation, detection and refraction.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Why CG Artists Are Making Bank

Making money online is definitely a craved topic across the web. So is contracting in a wide variety of industries. Let me discuss the entrepreneurial side of 3D design, and manufacturing through 3D printing. I'm talking about designing products, and creating them on a small scale for profit! Many people are already doing this and generating plenty of success. Let's discuss the actual process behind 3D modelers, people who use 3D printers, and people who use 3D printing services.

CG artists have been freelancing for years. The movie industry has been using them since Jurassic Park 2, and video games have been using artists since the start of video games! The graphics behind a wide variety of industries are powered through the actual designing of... artwork. Someone has to generate the work, and that's where CG artists can come in to make money online. That is the conventional way for artists to make some money contracting, but there are creative ways for them to generate some serious income!

First off, 3D printing is a form of manufacturing technology which allows for the creation of virtually any shape in one of over 60+ materials. This basically means that some artists and engineers can manufacture certain products in almost any shape. There are a wide variety of feats and applications within 3D printing, and people are definitely exploiting them. CG artists can play a role within the 3D printing world in a variety of ways, particularly in an entrepreneurial way. First off, designers can simply contract their services out for creating 3D printable models. Blatantly offering to design products that will be manufactured is popular. Aside from that, I want to discuss a different way for artists to make money.

3D printing service companies really give artists their own kind of freedom when creating revenue. Artists will work to create products that can be manufactured. These products will fulfill a few "design rules" when it comes to making pieces, but overall they will simply upload their models to various service companies like Shapeways or Sculpteo. These models will be sold to consumers, as 3D printable objects. These objects will arrive at the consumers' doorstep in a 3D printed finished piece. At the same time, designers will receive a certain commission off of each sale if he or she chooses to do so. This means that artists can essentially open up their own stores, offering goods to be made through 3D printing, and shipped to various consumers. There is definitely money to be made in that aspect.

Finally, many artists are taking over another way to use 3D modeling to make money in conjunction with 3D printing. Some artists will create the 3D models for various products. With these models, artists will have them made through 3D printing. Perhaps they will use their own 3D printer, or they will use a 3D printing service to have the products produced. Then, artists will sell them on various websites like Etsy, eBay, Craigslist, or locally. This allows artists to sell art pieces, knick-knacks, jewelry, etc to various consumers on a whole new level.

Friday, 24 February 2012

The Basics Of 3D Printing

3D printing is a very fascinating form of manufacturing technology in my opinion. This technology allows for the creation of virtually anything! This form of manufacturing revolves around CAM, or computer aided manufacturing. This means that if a design can be created on a computer, it can be carried out and manufactured through the system within a 3D printer. Quite a few intricate parts can be designed through 3D software. Very organic curves, shapes, and hollow spaces can come about through this technology. Unlike machining, mold manufacturing, and other traditional forms of manufacturing, 3D printing creates products and pieces layer by layer - one small section at a time. These layers can be as small as 12 microns in some situations. The diameter of a human hair is around the size of 40 microns. That is pretty small!

The levels of detail are huge throughout 3D printing. Sure, there is quite a bit of variation, but some seriously detailed products can come about through 3d printing. Like I mentioned earlier, computer aided manufacturing systems within 3D printers can create models from computer designs, and computer designs can include a wide variety of intricate shapes.

Remember how I mentioned that 3D printing creates products layer by layer? This layer by layer process allows for the creation of super intricate, curved, and organic pieces. Hollow spaces, functional parts, and phenomenal pieces like a ball within a ball can come into existence through the technology known as 3D printing.

What does this mean in the manufacturing world? Well, we can produce virtually anything through 3D printing. If it can be designed on a computer, it can likely be produced. These productions can be made in seriously high levels of details.

Another interesting aspect of 3D printing would be the variety of materials that exist within this technology. There are quite a few material types to choose from; in fact, there are over 60! There is usually a specific material or two offered for almost every need in the manufacturing world. For mechanical parts, materials such as stainless steel, titanium, or Inconel exist to help. These metals can hold their own when withstanding heart, and offer great strength. Materials such as full color sandstone offers full color (believe it or not). Some artists have created intricate designs of character models. These models can feature an actual face! 3D scanning has been used to intercept the dimensions of faces and body parts, and 3D printing has been used to replicate these parts. Pretty serious right?

Precious metals also exist throughout 3D printing. Materials such as gold, platinum, sterling silver, and fine silver exist in this manufacturing world. Wax casting is also used quite a bit throughout the world of 3D printing. This technology essentially involves the creation of highly detailed wax pieces, and these pieces are then used within casting to create jewelry, and small detailed pieces.

Overall, there is quite a bit that 3D printing can do within the manufacturing world. There are tons of possibilities! Like I mentioned earlier, if a model can be created on a computer, it likely can be created on a 3D printer - out of one of over 60 materials!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Surviving Economic Crisis in Yacht Building

Yacht building industry is struggling with economic crisis all over the world. Every related business is trying cost cutting ass a happy medium to avert decrease of profit and keep adequate financial results.

The main question arising is how to do that? Decreasing workers salary is out of question as in effect company could lose most skilful employees, which would probably lead to worsening product quality, losing clients and market share. Moreover the biggest competition being far east industry European minimal wage laws would not make it possible to get salaries low enough to compete with them.

A lot of western yards try to outsource production to less developed countries. In the beginning difference in salaries and worse labor environment allow to produce cheaper thus generating more profit. Unfortunately with time product quality is dropping significantly or workshops demand more money, as life expectancies start equaling between both countries. What is even more dangerous company can loose clients who wish to cut off the middleman and buy directly from the yard.

So how to survive? Technology seems to be the only reasonable option. As cutting salaries is not the best idea, replacing workers with machines seems to work pretty well. The quality is as high as we planned, tolerances can be smaller allowing to decrease material wastage, they are never tired or sick and the speed of production is increased. As always there are some drawbacks. Better educated thus more expensive staff will be required, however in lower quantity. Initial capital is also much higher so the investment risk rises. And there must be production going on - without constant sales upkeep can become a serious problem.

Time for some practical solutions. Lets start with design/naval architecture/engineering office.

First of all a good project management program is essential. It will allow to plan and execute complicated projects while still having control over amount of work already done and keeping the deadlines. It will cut cost by allowing just in time production management, estimating labor-consumption and checking if workers speed is adequate. Easy workers accounting is a positive side effect. There is a lot of free applications ( such as Navalplan) as well as paid ones available on the internet - only open mind of the board is required.

Second thing a good CAD system is required uniform throughout the company. And good does not necessary mean expensive. A lot of very expensive software is bought because some years ago there was no real alternative. But this changed now. You can have a reasonable 2D/3D software for about 1000EUR/license with many available plugins ( for example Rhinoceros 3D) including specialized marine plugins and workshop support software. Some of them are of course paid, some are free. Why CAD system is so important? Because on the shop floor nobody should have to think. Documentation should show every information that is needed, everything should be in its place and within tolerance. 3D design helps to avoid many mistakes and errors and in fact speed the design process making it cheaper as well. The necessary thing is design process automation. Automatic generation of 2D drawing from 3D model is essential. Many programs support makros or even scripting ( for example IronPython scripting in Rhino) providing a tool to make easy, repetitive and time consuming processes take several seconds requiring only several input values (for example linesplan creating script for Rhinoceros can save multiple working hours executing in less than a minute). Creating models and details database while from first look appearing as a waste of time saves significant amounts of work an time. Automation has another advantage - less errors.

Third thing calculations software. If company is making designs from scratch it is essential. It saves hundreds of manhours and nobody is going to deny that. Hydrostatics, stability, strength, stress analysis, EU certification all require a lot of time that can be saved if proper software is used. Standalone or plugin does not matter as long as it gives reliable results.

There is a lot of places on the shop floor where money can be saved.

First of all is keeping tolerances and guarding consistency with design. Changes on this stage are rather costly and require wide check with design drawings and corrections. The best practice is to make everything well in the design stage and then just execute the plan. Giving information about changes and feedback to design office if absolutely essential. A lot of time and cash can be lost if changes are made only on the shop floor, mainly because further design details will need to be corrected or prohibit the intended change to be carried out thus requiring reversing of the works already done.

Tolerances. Very often builders forget about tolerances, especially in early building stages when keeping them is most important. If there are big inadequacies made in beginning nothing will fit in later. Big structure dimensions tolerances cause using CNC machines obsolete. There is no sens to make a 0.1mm tolerated ply cut when someone will have to fit it with angle grinder. So tolerances should be kept low from the beginning.

Using machines better then mentioned before angle grinder is also very important. First of all quality. There is no way superior quality can be achieved using hand-held tools. This is 21st century CNC milling machines are nothing fancy. If company cannot afford one yet the job should be outsourced. A lot of carpentry workshops have one so finding a supplier shouldn't be a problem. It won't be much more expensive, and it will allow to keep the tolerances low and give a good finish effect. If you are working with steel - laser cut or waterjet is an answer. It would be grate to make molds with CNC machines but it gets quit costly for now.

For composite boats vacuum bagging is minimum, infusion is right. Better quality, higher strength, lower weight, lower time required, lower emissions, better working environment and good marketing possibilities makes it worth. Significant amount of time and funds must be put in to it to make it work.

Measurement techniques were always a problem in yachtbuildng due to small enclosed spaces and a lot of curvatures. Regular tape measure wont make the job as not many edges are straight. Total station can be quite effective in early stages of construction, however later it will become obsolete. Photogrametry is promising in conjunction with right CAD system.

To sum up there is a lot of techniques to keep your production costs low on every stage, so if company is open minded and willing to invest in new technology it can survive even with low labor cost far east competition.