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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.

Why Filmmakers Will Never Adopt the iPhone 7

2017/01/18 Comments off

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.

Why Apple needs to unlock the Terrorist’s iPhone and why it won’t

2016/02/26 Comments off

Apple vs. FBIApple Computer is currently battling a court order to help unlock an iPhone that was used by attackers in the San Bernardino, California Inland Regional Center incident on December 2, 2015,  where 14 people were killed and 22 were seriously injured. Apple’s defense is that by forcing it to create code, it would amount to “compelled speech and viewpoint discrimination,” both of which are violations of the First Amendment right to free speech. “Under well-settled law, computer code is treated as speech within the meaning of the First Amendment,” the company said in its motion.

However, Apple’s lawyers are incorrect in stating that this violates the First Amendment. It does not. The following is the complete text of the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The full text of the so-called free speech part of the Constitution is “abridging the freedom of speech”. Now, there are dozens of people on both sides of the law who can debate this topic, but the words themselves are clear. Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.

Congress isn’t making a law abridging anyone’s freedom of speech, but Congress is instead enacting its power to provide for the common defense and the general welfare of the United States. No one is attempting to prevent free speech.

The issue isn’t about free speech and using it as a defense is a non sequitur.

The protection (common defense and general welfare) of the United States supersedes any personal rights, even those afforded by the first ten amendments to the Constitution. Apple’s argument is ridiculous and holds no water. The fact that Apple is refusing to comply places it in a precarious position with the government because it is impeding Congress’ duty to protect the United States from enemies both foreign and domestic. You have to really stretch the wording of “abridging the freedom of speech” to argue against assisting Congress in protecting the United States and its citizens.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook asserts that Apple will have to create code for this and to do so is compelled speech. I say, “Tim Cook, you must be high on legally-obtained medical marijuana to say such a silly thing.”

Unfortunately, Apple might not be able to comply with the order, even if it agrees to do so. I personally don’t believe that Apple can do what’s being asked of it, so the best defense is often a good offense. It would be better, in my opinion, to admit that you can’t do it and ask Congress to seek the assistant of someone else who can crack the device.

Effectively, I see this situation as being similar to a guy who builds a bomb, but didn’t build any capability of disarming it. I think Apple built a device that it cannot “disarm.” The First Amendment is just “rabbit chasing” in order to not have to deal with the real issue–that Apple can’t crack its own device. Apple has pulled the pin and can’t put it back in.

I think we should stop the legalese and get down to the business of protecting the people of the United States. Offer a reward to the programmer or hacker who can perform the crack and decryption. And just leave Apple out of the argument.

The end result of this fiasco, should Apple successfully maintain its standoff with the Court is that Apple should be forced to pay heavy fines for its refusal to comply. My opinion is that Tim Cook and Apple are in contempt and should be held as such by refusing to comply. The smarter defense would have been, “We can’t do it because we don’t know how to do it and as far as we know, it cannot be done.”

The FBI and the Court aren’t asking Apple to violate law, because there is probable cause. There are warrants. There is an investigation. There was a deadly attack. There are no Constitutional violations here. Apple is clearly stalling.

There are really three mistakes that have occurred here:

  • Apple built something it can’t crack.
  • Apple is in violation of a Court Order and used a defense that doesn’t make sense.
  • The FBI and the Court should seek help from a competent source.

I’m all for freedoms and I fully embrace the Constitution and all its amendments. And part of that embrace is that every citizen and every company of citizens must comply with the provision of the common defense and the general welfare of the United States. No individual’s rights are more important than everyone’s rights. The one thing we all have to remember is that, my rights begin where yours leave off–meaning that we all have the same rights. We have the right to be protected and we have the right to protect. And I don’t want to live in a country where my rights to be protected aren’t upheld by the Constitution or by the government.

Apple’s act of defiance is selfish and contemptible. If I were a member of a victim’s family, I would sue Apple for its refusal to help. It is wrong for any entity to put itself above the law and above the safety and well-being of others. Whether Apple won’t or can’t comply with the court order is of great consequence to us all. My hope is that someone will step forward and take up the cause of unlocking the phone for the common good, be it Apple or someone else.

Atlantis Computing’s Software Defined Storage, Hyperconverged Infrastructure, and Data Center Design

2016/01/19 Comments off

Atlantis ComputingAtlantis Computing‘s Hyperscale appliance sports an all-flash array for storage, plus adds compute and virtualization to your remote office/branch office (ROBO) sites without the need for on-site IT staff. Its Hyperscale solutions offer your company:

  • Data reduction
  • I/O acceleration
  • Data management
  • Data mobility
  • Data protection
  • Unified storage

Its “turnkey” appliances offer simplified setup with enterprise-class all-flash storage that anyone in your ROBO can setup in minutes at a lower cost than competitive hyperconverged solutions. Starting with a two-node, 4 TB appliance, your Atlantis Computing-based solution can grow with you. You can read my article on ZDNet about Atlantis Computing’s latest announcements and listen to the podcast.

To find out more about how Atlantis Computing’s Hyperscale solutions can help your business, check out an in-depth article complete with supporting statistics and data: From the Field: Software Defined Storage and Hyperconverged Infrastructure in 2016.

Atlantis Computing is also offering you a free ebook so that you can have a look into the building of a modern data center.

Learn how agile IT principles and emerging data center services, such as software-defined storage and a hyperconverged infrastructure, will play an important role in meeting increasing business demands.

Sign up to reserve your copy.

Other free resources from Atlantis Computing:

DeepStorage Report on Atlantis

Atlantis Computing also helps companies setup and manage virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) implementations. If you want your VDI to work like you’ve dreamed it would without spending your company’s retirement fund to do it, check out Atlantis’ solutions for VDI.

Atlantis Computing

Disclaimer: This is a non-sponsored post.

Sponsorship: If you would like to sponsor a post or have me review a product, contact me via Twitter @kenhess.

 

 

Explore these truly relevant IT industry certifications

2016/01/15 Comments off

CertifiedIf you’re an IT professional or someone wanting to break into the glamorous world of IT, then you’ve probably considered certification. Perhaps your employer wants you to certify or maybe you think it’s time for a career move and you want to explore IT certifications. It’s confusing because there are so many certifications out there and not all of them are valued by employers or other IT staffers. This guide will help you identify the relevant certifications and why they’re relevant.

Almost every major vendor has some sort of certification plan for its products. I want to caution you against those. If a certification has a vendor label on it, I suggest that you pass it by unless you work with that product exclusively. There are, of course, exceptions. Cisco is one of those exceptions. Cisco certifications, such as the CCNA, CCIE, and CCNP are valuable, valued, and the most sought after in the business. The reason? They’re hard to pass. But that is only one reason. Other reasons include: There are jobs in the network administration field, you have to have significant experience to pass them, the jobs available for individuals who hold those certifications pay well. But exercise a bit of caution here. They’re expensive to take. The training is expensive too. The fail rate is very high, so unless you’re 100 percent dedicated to it, don’t waste your money and your time.

CompTIA certifications are highly valued in the IT business too. After Cisco, these are the ones that everyone wants. The reason? They’re vendor neutral. Certifications such as Security+, Server+, Network+, Linux+, and A+ test your knowledge of the topic while remaining vendor agnostic and that’s only a sampling of CompTIA’s certifications. Training sources are up to you and not required. You can register, pay, and take a CompTIA exam any time you wish. Your life experience can be your training. Other reasons why CompTIA exams are so valuable is that they test every aspect of a topic in considerable depth. If someone has, for example, passed the A+ exam, there’s a body of knowledge you know that individual has at his or her disposal and there’s no question about it.

ITIL Foundations certification is an extremely valuable certification, especially with larger companies, because of policies and regulations centering around change control. ITIL Foundations classes are relatively expensive and the test is rigorous, although many trainers boast a very high pass rate. My suggestion is that you focus during the three-day long class and study until you’re bored for the exam.

Microsoft CertificationsMicrosoft certifications are a whole different animal unto themselves. Some of the certifications are very difficult to pass, while others require no experience and very little study in order to achieve success. During the late 1990s, certain Microsoft certifications were shunned by the IT community because there were so many newbies entering the field who we dubbed, “Paper MCSEs.” It was true. A person with no experience could attend a class and pass the MCSE exam. It was this exam that turned many IT professionals against certification programs and against those who were certified. Microsoft has revamped its certification program considerably since those days and the number of Paper MCSEs has dropped significantly in response to those changes. These days an MCSE is a good place to start, but only if you couple it with another vendor neutral certification or two, such as the CompTIA ones.

The Microsoft Developer certification program is excellent as is its database certification track. If you have aspirations beyond tech support, check those out.

VMware certifications are another exception to the vendor certification smackdown that I gave earlier. VMware certifications for its core products are highly valued. The VCP is an honored and honorable certification. The training is expensive and the test is rigorous. Take the plunge if you have some experience and the training behind you. Couple it with another vendor neutral certification for better value.

Project Management certifications are absolutely essential in gaining any kind of momentum behind your career as a project manager. The PMP is the gold standard in the industry for project management professionals. There are too many related certifications to mention here, but these are widely recognized and considered required for positions in the industry.

Fortunately in some jobs, you can negotiate IT training that leads to certification, plus the testing fee which can be quite high in some cases. Be prepared to sign a contract for payback if you leave the job in less than a year of service after such training.

A word of caution about certification. When you certify on a product, be aware that when the new version of that product hits the market, you’ll have to certify on the new product as well. In some circles, we call this the “certification money racket.” This means that even if you are certified on Product X version 6.0, when Product X version 7.0 is released, you’ll have to take a new class and pay a new testing fee to certify. And most certifications, vendor-oriented or vendor neutral have an expiration date.

Most professionals who I know who are “certification junkies” (The ones who have several certifications behind their names) consider new certifications as continuing education and part of the cost of being an IT professional.

If you’re interested in becoming a certification instructor, the exams are the same, but you’ll have to achieve near perfect scores on the exams to attain instructor status.

No certification is worth the price if you don’t have experience, although many newcomers believe (falsely) that certification without experience helps them break into the business. My best advice is to get some real world experience (at least one year) and couple that with your certifications. If you’re serious about the IT business, especially in large companies, this approach will give you the highest return on your investment. If you can’t acquire an entry level job in which to gain some skills, buy or lease some computer equipment and learn on your own. If you are lucky enough to get an interview, there will be a team of skeptical IT professionals who will test your knowledge and they might not be nice about it, so lose the attitude and show that you know something practical as well as having the certification. Best of luck to you in your pursuits. Feel free to contact me for further information and pointers.

Disclaimer: This was a non-sponsored post.

Sponsorship: If you wish to sponsor a post or to have a product reviewed, contact me.

Pitch Me with upitch: Public Relations & Journalist Pitch Discovery App

2015/09/22 Comments off

upitchThere’s an app for that. If you want to pitch me a story, you might want to try upitch. The upitch service is an app and a website where you can pitch your stories to journalists who use the app. The app is also for journalists who filter your pitches based on content. The app allows journalists to connect via a chat applet with the pitch posting company. Companies can post their pitches directly to journalists who want to see them and journalists can filter the pitch noise to focus in on what’s relevant to them and their beats. It’s a beautiful thing. I’m just surprised, and sorry, that I didn’t think of it.

Every day, I receive at least two dozen PR pitches from various sources for stories to be posted on ZDNet, The Frugal Networker, Datamation, or other venues that I write for. Most end up in my mail client’s Trash folder. Some intrigue me enough to respond with a, “Please send me the announcement (or whatever) under embargo, but no promises.” A minority actually interest me enough to say, “Hey, let’s schedule a call for this.” It’s a public relations person’s job to pitch stories to journalists in hopes of getting their clients some ink on a website or to get a reviewer to review a product. I get it. I’m sensitive to it. Some products, services, and companies just don’t make the cut for my beats. We all have to live with that.

upitch: How it works

There are pitches that just aren’t right for the products and services that I write about. I don’t mean any offense when I say, “No.” Hopefully the PR person hasn’t only queried me for a potential story.

I sometimes say, “No” because of a poor approach, a bad pitch, a company that just doesn’t resonate with me, or for any number of reasons. I almost always say, “No” to pitches that involve companies that use cheap labor locations. It’s just my personal thing.

From the iTunes upitch app page:

upitch is a self-service public relations app (PR tool) for anyone looking to get media coverage, and a convenient and easy discovery tool for journalists to browse and swipe through story pitches and news announcements (or concise press releases).

Brands/People/Charities/Public Figures

Are you launching a product, company, movie, music single, art exhibit, event or maybe just have news you want press coverage for?

  • Upload concise, formatted story pitches and news announcements through the upitch mobile app or at UPitchApp.com on your desktop or laptop
  • Choose your industry and geographical filters
  • Your pitch will now appear on the smartphone or tablet screen of every journalist who is searching for stories in your industry and geographical location
  • When a journalist swipes right on your pitch you will receive a notification and you and that journalist can now message each other directly via upitch instant messenger.

Journalists/Producers/Bloggers

Are you looking for your next news story idea?

  • Log in and choose your industry and geographical location filters
    Start swiping through concise and easy-to-read pitches that are relevant to what you cover
  • Swipe right on pitches you wish to pursue as stories and make direct contact with the person or brand who uploaded the pitch via upitch instant messenger to coordinate the story or to learn more
  • When you wish to end communication, simply hit “End Chat”

What’s not to love about a service that actually helps people connect with journalists who’ll write about their products and services? This is not an app review, but I have to tell you that I love upitch and I’ll be glad, hence this post, when more companies start using it so I can get some great stories that I choose to pursue.

Yes, it’s frugal. Any app or service that can help me do my job in a faster, more pleasant manor is frugal, because I don’t have to spend valuable time skimming through every random pitch that ends up in my Inbox. And I don’t have overzealous PR folks calling my cell phone number that somehow keeps being placed into the Cision database despite my protest and multiple removals.

The upitch app works for me. I like it. I’m glad that someone created this app and this service to better connect journalists and companies that have stories to tell. It’s not that I don’t love my PR homies; I do. It’s just that, for me, upitch works and it works well.

Disclaimer: This is NOT a paid or sponsored article and I’m in no way associated with upitch either financially or personally.

Technovator XE: Wireless Device Charging

2015/09/14 Comments off

Technovator XE ProductI recently had the opportunity to interview Technovator CEO, Ivan Chuba about his new wireless charging technology solution, known as XE. The solution consists of a device case, a charging base station, and an app that handles the connection between the two devices.

This is a transcript of that conversation.

1. Can you tell us a little about you, your team and the company?

I have been actively engaged in programming and electronics for over 17 years, but familiarity with the computer (the legendary ZX Spectrum) and soldering happened early, professionally for more than 10 years. As I remember myself I always like to create something new. My first creations were power supply unit and detector radio receiver, toy car with engines from the tape recorder. First programs were calculator, of course and small games.
I began to observe the development of hardware startups practically with the appearance of crowd funding platform – Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Two years ago I became co-founder and CTO of startup Concepter, one of the most famous products of external flash for smartphones. The idea of creation of new project was appeared a year ago, but I understood that the existing team couldn’t implement new project due to many factors. I gathered a team Technovator who share with me my ideas and ready to new achievements.

2. What motivated your team to develop this technology (Wireless Energy Transfer), how did it all begin?

With possibilities of wireless transmission of electricity I’ve faced 17 years ago, collecting a radio detector receiver. I have often observed how many users often look for a charger cable for smartphones. Moreover, the number of devices increases and all require a power or charger. After this observations – idea of a wireless power transmission creation appeared. A search showed that no existing solutions and technologies.
The first few months of development I have studied materials and different theories and tested features. By the time I realized on how many all is real and what qualification required for engineers who have to bring my assistance. As a result we were looking for engineers who previously addicted to electronics and at least conducted experiments with wireless transmission of electricity and understand the capabilities and solutions. So Roman and Vladimir joined our team Technovator with a good theoretical and practical level in electronics.

3. Who are your competitors and what’s radically new about your solution compared to existing competitors?

There are already companies that work in direction of wireless power transmission, but each team works under own technology and with own specific. I think it’s too early to compare, because they and we do not have finished product. If you compare the prototypes, we have a fundamentally different scheme of work, built on the unique transmitter and receiver.

4. What advantages does your XE product provide to consumers?

Our technology is fully safe for people and all living; the transmitters can be placed in all areas of your home or office, where most of time a user spends with his/her Smartphone. As a result, smartphone is always fully charged, regardless of activity of its use.

5. Is this technology patented?

We constantly improve our technology, changes are inevitable. We have already begun to prepare documents for patents.

6. Please describe the design features and tell us which mobile devices you can use with XE.

Our system consists of two parts: transmitter and receiver. The receiver is an independent module that can be integrated in any device. Firstly, we plan to release case for Iphone 6/6+, and further models. Also we are considering possibilities for integration into the case for other manufacturers.

7. Is this technology safe for consumers health in daily use?

Our technology is fully safe for people, animals, environment and surrounding electronic devices. This technology is originally designed in accordance to requirements of health safety. We have already conducted required tests.

8. Have you received any certificate or confirmation of the safety of this technology?

We are still planning to conduct additional professional researches and tests that would consumers have full confidence in their security. Also we are going to obtain the corresponding certificates.

9. On what distance is possible to charge mobile devices and what is the maximum number of devices can be charged at the same time?

We have reached a distance of 5 meters (15 feet). And we still work on the improvement of efficiency and size reduction, so we do not plan to increase the distance at this moment, but in future, of course. At the same time you can charge up to 2-3 devices.

10. Can you tell us about the actual efficiency and the charging time of the mobile device using the XE system?

Current tests show high efficiency, the obtained figures will be announced later. You can view the calculated indexes in a table below:

iPhone 6/iPhone 6s

iPhone 6 Plus/iPhone 6s Plus

Smartphone battery capacity

1810

mAh

2915

mAh

Average wireless power transfer, max

2.5

W

2.5

W

Average time to full recharge of phone battery by wired charging

1.81

h

2.915

h

Average time to full recharge of phone battery by wireless charging

4

h

6

h

11. How is your startup funded?

Our project is financed by our own resources, but we are going to attract additional funding for our further research and development. Implementation of this project will give great prospects for the electronics industry development.

12. Do you plan to improve the charging efficiency or the distance and what are the prospects of its development ?

We plan to improve our technology, to increase a distance, to reduce the size and maximize efficiency. Today, there are many devices around us that require wireless charging.

13. What’s your opinion on how your technology will affect mobile industry development?

I believe that our technology will influence on final devices, they can be made more compact with small accumulator without connectors.

14. Are you going to expand the scope of this technology in the future? If yes, in what areas?

The potential of technology lies in integration of receiver into devices. As a result, the devices will no longer require power connector leading to size reduction of the devices. You can use this technology in all areas that related to electricity and charging.

 

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