18 High-paying Jobs That Allow Work Flexibility

Engineers Get Fat StacksSpoiler Alert: Earn an Engineering Degree. Yep, that’s right, Engineers always top every list of the highest-paying jobs. A Bachelor’s Degree in most fields won’t put you into the tax bracket that Engineering ones do. A degree in Engineering starts off with a higher salary, grows faster, and has more potential for upward mobility than any other. I’m sorry, but it’s true. I attended Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas and it’s a heavy Engineering school and the prevailing joke, at the time, was, “What do you call an Aggie Engineer five years after graduation?” “Boss.”lexjob’s 18 Highest-Paying Bachelor’s Degrees with Flexible Jobs.

The 18 Highest-Paying Bachelor’s Degrees with Flexible Jobs.

It’s true that Engineers enjoy the fastest career growth curve of any profession. They’re respected in the workforce and they make the big bucks. I’ve personally never seen a poor Engineer or an Engineer that’s unemployed. They always have jobs. They always have good jobs, even in economic downturns. So, take the hint and get that Engineering degree.

A lot of students are afraid of pursuing Engineering degrees because of the math requirements, such as Calculus, Differential Equations, and other advanced math courses. My suggestion is to take some remedial math courses so that you begin to understand the concepts and the possibilities that advanced mathematics holds. I personally loved Calculus but struggled with Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry. Calculus is where I should have started. Unfortunately, the school system wasn’t setup for me. By the time I was first exposed to Calculus, I was in college and really scared of the requirement to take a full year of it. I made an ‘A’ in both semesters and then considered a degree in Mathematics. It was the opening of a whole new world to me.

Take a look at the 18 jobs, mostly Engineering gigs, that not only are the highest-paying but also have flexibility.

Workers Rebuke UC Regents’ Plan to Send Their Jobs to India

SAN FRANCISCOTomorrow UC San Francisco information technology employees will challenge UC Board of Regents’ plan to replace them with lower-paid workers from India. It is the first time a public university has ever offshored American IT work, undermining its own mission to prepare students for high-tech jobs.

WHAT: Workers speak out against offshoring at UC Board of Regents meeting

WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 26 at 9:30 a.m. PST

WHERE: UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center, Robertson Auditorium, 1675 Owens Street, San Francisco. Watch the Livestream here. 

WHO: UCSF information technology employees, University Professional Technical Employees-CWA Local 9119, and community leaders

Seventy-nine workers in UCSF’s IT department will lose their middle-class, family-supporting jobs in February.

Last summer, the UC system partnered with HCL, a multinational contractor based in India, to manage IT infrastructure and networking-related services. The contract covers all 10 UC campuses, potentially endangering thousands more IT jobs, but UCSF is the first to test this scheme to slash salary costs.

Since then, HCL and UC have imported Indian workers to UCSF on H-1B visas, which are temporary work permits for “specialty occupations” requiring “highly specialized knowledge.” Congress originally created the visa program to help employers to fill talent gaps — not displace US workers. Yet UC is unscrupulously exploiting a loophole in the law, and adding insult to injury, requiring soon-to-be-laid-off UC employees to train their foreign replacements as a condition of their severance. Eventually, the H-1B visa replacements will depart too, returning to India to train large teams of workers who will do the work for even cheaper.

Members of University Professional Technical Employees-CWA Local 9119 have been mobilizing against the offshoring plan for several months, building public support for the IT workers and spotlighting the responsibilities of public institutions that receive taxpayer funding. Offshoring jeopardizes the privacy of medical center patients, students, faculty, and staff. Troublingly, both UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla and UC Berkeley Dean of Engineering S. Shankar Sastry sit on the board of HCL.

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The Communications Workers of America represents 700,000 workers in private and public sector employment in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. CWA members work in telecommunications and information technology, the airline industry, news media, broadcast and cable television, education, health care and public service, law enforcement, manufacturing and other fields.

Why Filmmakers Will Never Adopt the iPhone 7

iPhone 7By Ken Hess

I’m a filmmaker, writer, iPhoneographer, i-Device videographer, and I won’t transition to the iPhone 7 or any device that doesn’t have an input jack that can be used for microphones. I doubt other such filmmakers will either. We have to have a way to get synchronized sound into the videos that we’re making. Bluetooth speakers are not really all that great and I don’t expect any Bluetooth microphones to be great either. Bluetooth also consumes a lot of power. It just isn’t a workable solution. Apple will likely lose a significant number of customers who make films and podcasts using iPods, iPads, and iPhones. I leave my iPad 4 connected to a tripod and a microphone constantly for quick access to creating video for reviews, news, and interviews. The new iPhones will have no such place in my repertoire.

The decision to remove the 3.5mm input jack is a very poorly conceived idea. I’m not sure that Apple really gained anything by doing so, except perhaps more revenue from their “Airpods.” Airpods are very expensive ($159.00) Bluetooth earbuds that will be easily lost or stolen. Apple does however, still supply a set of earbuds (Lightning connector) at no extra charge (A $30.00 value).

Filmmakers need to be able to connect a microphone and to connect earbuds or headphones to listen to sound. There are, of course, converter cables that one can use to allow 3.5mm access, but I haven’t tried one with an iPhone 7 yet to test how good they are. My daughter has an iPhone 7 and I will make that test soon and post when it’s complete. I have several 3.5mm jack microphones that I can use to test the cable. I purchased this adapter/converter to test, but haven’t had the time yet with her iPhone 7 to try it out.

I hope that some third party, perhaps via Kickstarter or Indiegogo, creates a good solution for iPhone 7s. I see projects like Tangerine not happening on this device and it’s unfortunate because the camera is so nice.

Note to filmmakers: You can still buy iPhone 5 and 6 models at reasonable prices, have great cameras, and have the 3.5mm jack at your disposal.

If I ever upgrade to something newer than my iPhone 5, I’m keeping the 5 for making films exclusively. The iPhone 5 has the right size, the 3.5mm jack, and I’ve invested enough in accessories to make keeping it a good idea. I wish it had more than 16GB of space or was upgradeable. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t give us the option.

Thanks Apple, for your inflexibility, non-upgradeability, and no 3.5mm jack.

Blue Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone, Cardioid – Black (Review)

Blue Snowball iCE USB MicrophoneBlue Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone
Blue Microphones
Amazon (Prime) $44.99

I know I’m not the first person to ever review the Blue Snowball iCE microphone (Snowball), but I am a professional reviewer, podcaster, and videocaster, so I’m evaluating it from the point-of-view of someone who might shop for this microphone to create professional voice recordings.

I purchased this unit from Amazon, myself, so it is not a review unit supplied by Blue Microphones or a PR company. I bought it for use as a home recording unit, because I use my Blue Yeti microphone for creating professional SecurityNOW podcasts with Preston Smith. Originally, I purchased this one to be the SecurityNOW microphone and to leave my precious Yeti at home. However, the Snowball lacks certain features that I require for my professional podcasts. So, I’m reviewing it here to give you the highs and lows of it in case you’re considering it for your own work.

What I like:

The Snowball is small, light and well-built. The price is right at $44.99 and free shipping from Amazon. The Snowball dismantles into the ball, the small stand, and the USB cable for a fairly compact transport. The sound is very good for the price. The microphone and parts feel durable and should last until its $45 value has been fully extracted. I like the cardioid voice pickup pattern. It filters out a lot of the ambient background noise from behind the microphone and in other parts of a large room, focusing on your voice.

What I don’t like:

The Snowball has no features. It’s a microphone on a stand and that’s it. It has no volume knob or any other adjustment buttons, sliders, or switches. It’s on when you plug it in and off when you unplug it. There’s no mute feature on the microphone. The non-adjustable stand is small and three to four inches lower than optimal height. The stand attaches to the microphone with a non-standard screw size, so you can’t mount it to a tripod of any kind, though you can optionally purchase an adjustable microphone ‘arm’ for $18.

The only accessory that I know of for the Snowball is the Ringer, which is a shock mount for $43.00 on Amazon. The shock mount gives you more options for placement, like the adjustable arm, plus it dampens sounds from bumps and other movements. Frankly, the Snowball should be used with a Pop Filter to filter out the “pops” you hear when speaking close to the microphone, which you really have to do with the Snowball to capture good sound quality.

The optimal distance from the microphone is probably three to four inches, depending on your voice quality and volume.

Here is a sample of raw audio from the Blue Snowball iCE.

However, if you spend $45.00 for the Snowball, $43.00 for the shock mount, and $10.00 for the pop filter, you’d be better off buying the Blue Yeti USB microphone for $100.00. It’s a much superior microphone and you’ll like it a lot better.

Overall, the Snowball is a decent microphone. I can’t say that I’d purchase another one, but for $45.00, it’s OK. I think my money would have been better spent on a different microphone that has options, better sound, and a more convenient or adjustable stand. If you’re wanting a microphone for some light podcasting, Skype, or test recording of some type, this microphone is certainly good enough. If you have any aspirations of doing anything long-term, professional, or something with an adjustable stand or even a volume knob, don’t buy this one.

Rating: 6/10

Recommendation: Don’t buy it unless you really like having no options and a mediocre microphone. Opt instead for the Blue Yeti.

The Future of IT: Hype vs. Reality

2016/12/16 Comments off

SpiceworksSpiceworks launched a new report today –Future of IT: Hype vs. Reality – that examines organizations’ adoptions plans of emerging technology like IoT, AI, VR, and 3D printers and the expected impact in the workplace.

The survey results show that among these emerging technologies, IT pros expect IoT devices and AI technology to have the biggest impact in the workplace. They don’t expect mass adoption to take off for VR and 3D printers, but some industries have significantly higher adoption rates than the industry average.

Key findings:

  • Artificial intelligence

o   Apple Siri is most commonly used in the workplace, but Cortana expected to overtake Siri in next 12 months

o   Over next 5 years, 60% of companies plan to adopt machine learning; 72% plan to deploy business analytics with AI; 32% plan to deploy self-learning robots

  • Internet of things

o   As with AI, security is the top concern with IoT in the workplace

o   Healthcare industry has highest adoption rate for IoT at 28% with an additional 50 percent planning to adopt it

  • Virtual reality

o   Only 7% of companies use VR and 13% plan to adopt it; Construction/engineering industry has highest planned adoption rate at 27%

o   Cost is biggest barrier to adoption; security/privacy is the least concern

o   IT pros surveyed named Oculus the most innovative leader in VR

  • 3D printers

o   Only 11% of companies use 3D printers and 22% plan to adopt them; Education industry has highest current adoption rate at 45%

o   As with VR, cost is biggest barrier to adoption and security is least concern

[Ken’s Notes]

No VR for BusinessThis report, like all reports from Spiceworks, is excellent and accurate. There’s a lot of hype around virtual reality (VR) tech and it will have some adoption in universities and in specialty businesses, but for most of us, don’t invest too heavily in anything VR-related. Most businesses don’t need VR and those that do, already have it in some form.

One point I disagree on, and it’s not uncommon for me to do so, is artificial intelligence (AI). For the past many* years, I have thought that AI would be the one technology that really surpassed all the others in terms of adoption, especially for voice-controlled applications, like Siri, Alexa, and Cortana. I’ve waited for 20 years for a decent voice-recognition program so that I don’t have to type, but can just dictate. Yes, I know about Dragon, and it’s pretty good. But I want something that’s truly ready for prime time.
For me, voice recognition is the first step in AI. Once you have voice recognition, then you can create programs to respond to commands and to perform complex functions. I need for it to be better than my R2D2 robot and the current state of Siri, Alexa, and Cortana. There are a lot of applications for voice recognition, but we just haven’t tapped into them yet.

Overall, this is a very thorough report. I like the visual statistics and the comparisons. I think that you’ll find it enlightening. Use the Comments section to tell me how closely these statistics come to your reality.

*many – A bunch. More than I’m going to tell you about.

IK Multimedia announces and ships iRig Nano Amp – the versatile micro amp with a built-in iOS interface

2016/12/08 Comments off
IK Multimedia. Musicians First.

December 8, 2016 IK Multimedia once again redefines a product category for guitarists with the newly released iRig Nano Amp – the versatile micro amp with a built-in iOS interface. iRig Nano Amp gives players both a standalone portable guitar amplifier PLUS an interface that lets them plug their guitar into an iPhone or iPad and use AmpliTube for iOS to access an unlimited and inspirational world of guitar tones on the go. iRig Nano Amp is available now from IK Multimedia and music and electronics retailers around the world.

iRig Nano Amp

The first micro amp and interface for mobile guitarists
iRig Nano Amp is a super-compact, battery-powered, self-contained micro amp and interface for iOS that players can use by itself, with headphones or even an external speaker cabinet – this power-packed amazing little amp can drive up to a 4×12″ guitar cab! But what makes it more versatile than any other micro amp available is that it features the iRig circuitry so that guitarists can plug their iPhone or iPad into it with the included TRRS cable and tap into the limitless world of AmpliTube guitar tone and more.

Dual Mode Operation – AMP/DEVICE
What makes iRig Nano Amp so unique is that it operates in two different modes: AMP & DEVICE. In AMP mode it’s a standalone amp for impromptu practice anywhere. In DEVICE mode it’s used as an interface and amp for an iOS device. Plus, in both modes players can use the built-in speaker or hook up an external speaker cabinet – up to a 4×12″ cab – for more volume and tonal clarity.

AMP mode
iRig Nano Amp operates as a straight-up guitar amp and features a British tone stack circuit with tone and volume controls for practice on the go. Players simply plug their guitar into the 1/4″ guitar input, adjust the volume and gain settings, select the output type NORMAL/BRIGHT and rock out. The British tone circuit delivers sparkling clean tones at lower gain settings and a cascading wave of overdrive when cranked to the upper limits.

DEVICE mode
iRig Nano Amp is also an interface and monitor for an iOS device thanks to its integrated iRig circuit. Players use the included TRRS cable to hook up iRig Nano Amp in DEVICE mode to an iPhone or iPad and plug in to the amazing toneful world of AmpliTube to play, practice and record anywhere, any time. This is great for grabbing ideas in AmpliTube’s 4-track looper or recording studio, or just practicing with the models of AmpliTube gear and more. When used in DEVICE mode, the internal tone stack circuit is bypassed and the volume knob controls the overall output of the amp. Headphones can be used in DEVICE mode for monitoring the processed signal coming from the device.

Drive a cab
iRig Nano Amp features a 1/4″ speaker out jack that can drive up to a 4×12″ cabinet. Once plugged in, guitarists will be floored by the volume and tonal definition that iRig Nano Amp provides. An external cabinet can be used in both AMP and DEVICE modes providing the most flexibility of any micro amp available.

Under the hood
iRig Nano Amp is compact – it’s just slightly larger than an iPhone and features a handy “kickstand” for tilting back the unit for better monitoring. Inside, iRig Nano Amp powers a 3″ speaker with a 3-watt class A/B power amp. It features a 1/4″ guitar input, a 1/4″ speaker output, an 1/8″ headphone jack, is powered by 3 AA batteries (included) and comes complete with a TRRS cable for connection to an iOS device. iRig Nano Amp can be used in 3 output monitoring options – in DEVICE mode with headphones for private practice, or with the internal speaker active or external speaker cabinet connected to the 1/4″ speaker out in both DEVICE or AMP modes.

An expandable universe of tone
Since iRig Nano Amp lets players plug into their iPhone or iPad, they’ll have access to AmpliTube for iOS – the largest and expandable collection of virtual gear available from the world’s top manufacturers. Available models include amps and stomps from Fender®, Ampeg®, MESA/Boogie®, Orange® and signature artists like Slash, Jimi Hendrix™ and more. With iRig Nano Amp and AmpliTube, a complete guitar rig is always close at hand.

Pricing and availability
iRig Nano Amp is available now from IK retailers worldwide or from the IK online store for only $/€49.99 (excluding taxes).

For more information on iRig Nano Amp, please visit: www.irignanoamp.com

To see iRig Nano Amp in action, watch the video: www.irignanoamp.com/video

IK Multimedia releases iKlip Grip Pro – the pro-quality 4-in-1 tripod and video handle for iPhone

2016/12/06 Comments off
IK Multimedia. Musicians First.

December 6, 2016 IK Multimedia, a leading manufacturer of hardware, accessories, apps and software for iPhone, iPad and Mac, is pleased to announce the availability of the new iKlip Grip Pro – the professional quality 4-in-1 tripod and handle for capturing professional photos and video on the go with any iPhone or compact action video camera. iKlip Grip Pro lets users securely hold their iPhones while using the stand as a compact tabletop tripod, a video handle, a monopod or as a standard tripod adapter. iKlip Grip Pro features an integrated, all-in-one compact design that provides the highest level of convenience for capturing media on the go.
iKlip Grip Pro

Ultimate Control and stability for the best shots
iKlip Grip Pro is the new large-grip, compact multifunctional iPhone and camera stand with an integrated detachable Bluetooth shutter control that is really 4 accessories in one: super secure tabletop tripod, large-grip video handler, monopod handler and standard tripod adapter. iKlip Grip Pro can securely hold any iPhone with or without a case, and features a standard mounting system for connecting small mobile video cameras like GoPro®, compact digital cameras and stand-mount audio field recorders. iKlip Grip Pro features a large, ergonomic handle that expands into a sturdy tripod, an integrated locking extension pole that extends up to 62 cm (24″) for getting those “above the crowd” shots and selfies, plus a detachable Bluetooth shutter control for remote shooting.

Firm Grip – Securely holds any iPhone
The secret to iKlip Grip lies in its ingenious expandable and secure holding bracket that allows users to precisely position their iPhone, with or without a case, at any angle for capturing photos, video and audio. iKlip Grip Pro features an expandable spring-loaded soft-touch rubber bracket that provides secure superior holding power. Repositioning an iPhone is as simple as expanding the brackets to release the iPhone, then re-securing it.Firm Support – the tabletop tripod
iKlip Grip Pro features a new large ergonomic handle design that is super comfortable for most hand sizes. The new larger grip is perfect for stabilizing video and capturing “blur free” photos, especially in zoom modes. The handle base also can be transformed into a compact tabletop tripod for positioning on any relatively level surface for ultra-steady media capture. The trick lies in its ingeniously designed locking mechanism – when closed and locked, iKlip Grip Pro is a handle suited for most “handler” tasks like selfies or ultra-steady video shooting on the go. But when unlocked, the handle’s three legs fold out to form a firm and sturdy tabletop tripod that is ultra-secure and steady. In tripod mode, users can easily shoot steady video and photos from a single location, or use the front-facing camera for hands-free FaceTime™ video chat or live broadcasts like Facebook Live, SnapChat or Periscope productions.
iKlip Grip Pro


Firm Extension

iKlip Grip Pro also features an integrated ultra-stable, locking 4-segment telescopic extension pole. At any time users can simply unlock the pole and extend it to their desired length, up to a max of 63 cm (24.8″). And since the pole is integrated into the design, no additional assembly is required. The pole extension is perfect for the distant “selfie”, but also ideal for getting “above the crowd” for audience-less band shots, closer-than-they-appear shots and anything in between. The extender also works in tripod mode so users can position an iPhone or compact camera at the perfect distance above the tabletop.

Pivoting 360° Positioning
iKlip Grip Pro has a pivoting ball-joint attachment point that provides a full 90° angle adjustment plus 360° rotation capabilities for freely positioning an iPhone in any orientation. This allows users to get just the right angle and position for that perfect shot.

Remote Control
iKlip Grip Pro comes with an integrated yet removable Bluetooth smartphone shutter remote control that lets users wirelessly activate the shutter button in video and photo apps. A holder clip on the handle provides “one handed” thumb-activated shutter control. When using iKlip Grip Pro as a table top tripod, the shutter control easily detaches for capturing shots remotely. The Bluetooth shutter control is universally compatible with iOS 5.0 and above and can be operated up to 10 meters away.

Tripod Adapter
When the spring-loaded iPhone holder is removed from the iKlip Grip Pro, users have two additional uses – a standard UNC ¼” 20 universal tripod and handle for small digital cameras and action video cameras, and a secure grip iPhone holder that can be used on standard tripods. This is convenient for capturing stills and video with an iPhone when a more professional tripod is needed in more challenging situations, and using iKlip Grip Pro with compact action cameras or field recorders.

Pricing and availability
iKlip Grip Pro is available now from Apple Online and Retail Stores worldwide and from the IK online store for only $/€59.99 (excluding taxes).

For more information, please visit:
www.ikmultimedia.com/iklipgrippro

Find iKlip Grip Pro at an Apple Store near you:
www.ikmultimedia.com/iklipgrippro/buy

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