Author Archives: Bridge Technical Talent

Top Tech Gifts in 2017

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: December 12, 2017

Image: https://pixabay.com/en/box-card-celebrate-celebration-2953722/

We all love finding gifts for our loved ones around the holidays. You can’t beat that feeling of excitement when you know you’ve picked the perfect gift. Christmas is right around the corner, and we’re here to help with tech gift ideas for the techies in your life:

Roku Streaming Stick
Ever wished that you could stream HD shows even when you’re not home? Now you can with the Roku Streaming Stick! This voice remote

Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa
Smart devices are slowly becoming a staple of everyday life. You can set reminders, play music, ask those random questions that come up during conversation, and connect them with other smart devices.

M.A.X. Robotic Interactive Toy with Artificial Intelligence
Know of a tech lover who is dying to get his or her kids involved? This 12” tall robot features customizable programming and infrared sensors which help it navigate around obstacles. We want to introduce kids to programming at an early age, and this robot makes it easy to get started.

Smart TV
No techies home is complete without a smart TV. Many smart TVs come with apps like Facebook, Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, YouTube, and Spotify. Search for the perfect program easily by using voice controls and some even let you browse the web.

Philips Hue Lights
The Philips Hue lights are changing homes around the world. These smart lights connect with your phone or smart home to enable the color changing, voice activated lights. You can control the lighting of the entire house from one device. Try syncing them to change colors with your music, games, or movies!

Portable Charger
For the techie that’s always on the go. If you know someone that’s constantly dealing with dying devices, give them this portable charger. Also consider this car charger!

Raden Luggage
Did you ever think modern technology would affect our suitcases? Believe it or not, this bag comes with an app that lets you track and locate it. It’s super durable, waterproof, and if the battery is removed you can use it as a portable charger. One of the bestselling features of this item is its ability to weigh itself. No more worrying about baggage fees, just check how much you’ve packed before stepping foot in the airport.

Bose SoundLink Micro Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
Reviews say this mini speaker delivers powerful sound for its tiny size. It’s perfect for avid travelers or weekend warriors.

Spark Drone
You really can’t beat getting a mini drone as a gift. This device comes equipped with a camera, and it’s available in a variety of colors. Best of all, Spark launches with facial recognition and can be controlled using hand motions.

From all of us at Bridge, we are wishing you and your loved ones a safe and happy holiday season!

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Preparing for Computer Science Education Week

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: December 6, 2017

computer science education week

Dreading the cold temperatures that December brings? Now worries, at least there’s one thing you can look forward to: Computer Science Education Week! The beginning of December marks the start of one of the most exciting weeks of the year. From December 4-10, educators and STEM professionals across the globe dedicate their time to inspiring youth to learn how to code and explore career opportunities.

Founded in 2009, Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) is run by Code.org, a non-profit dedicated to implementing and expanding computer science education in our school systems. Over 350 partners and 100,000 educators worldwide support this week-long call to action.

Introducing computer science at an early age promotes problem-solving skills, logic, and creativity. In our digital age, it’s becoming necessary for students to learn about algorithms or app development. Some have equate not knowing programming to illiteracy. Currently, there are 500,000 open computing positions across the nation, and this is projected to grow at twice the rate of all other jobs, according to Hour of Code (HOC). In fact, computing jobs are the number one source of new wages in the United States. Consequently, a computer science major can earn 40% more than the college average.

computer science education week

Image: https://hourofcode.com/us

Nevertheless, there’s lots you can do to be an advocate for technology education in your community. For example, reach out to your local school district and volunteer to help host an Hour of Code in one of their classrooms, or even your workplace. Take it one step further, contact your state representatives and petition them to allow computer science to count toward math/science credit. You can even donate to Computer Science Education Week to help support their efforts.

Don’t forget, December isn’t the only time you can host an Hour of Code! This one hour introduction to computer science is available to schools and educators year-round. With this in mind, it’s important to continue promoting computer science education at all times. Technology affects every facet of our lives now. To illustrate, computer science is the foundation of industries like the medical field, agriculture, even the arts. We hope you’ll take part, not just this week, but all year, in this movement to provide our youth with computer science education.

Stay tuned to read more about how we’re participate in #CSEdWeek this year! For now, read about what we’ve done in the past.

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Is Kotlin the Future of Android Programming?

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: November 29, 2017

Image: https://blog.jetbrains.com/kotlin/2017/11/kotlin-1-2-released/

If you’ve stayed up to date on programming trends, you’ve probably heard of Kotlin, a language taking the coding world by storm. Kotlin is efficient, concise, and interoperable with Java. It’s an open source, statically typed language created by JetBrains, the makers of IntelliJ. Predictions state that Kotlin will surpass Java as the primary language for Android apps by next December.

Although Kotlin has been open source since 2012, the newly popular language gained traction thanks to Google. At this year’s Google I/O, the tech mogul announced that Kotlin will be a first-class language for writing Android apps; this is also the first third-party language Google supports.

Why should you learn Kotlin? First of all, because it’s always a good idea to stay on top of new languages. Trends in technology change quickly, and you shouldn’t be left in its wake. Secondly, Medium details seventeen reasons why you should make the switch from Java to Kotlin, listed below:

  1. Familiar Syntax
  2. String Interpolation
  3. Type Inference
  4. Smart Casts
  5. Intuitive Equals
  6. Default Arguments
  7. Named Arguments
  8. The When Expression
  9. Properties
  10. The Data Class
  11. Operator Overloading
  12. Destructuring Declarations
  13. Ranges
  14. Extension Functions
  15. Null Safety
  16. Better Lambdas
  17. IDE Support

If even one of those reasons intrigues you, read the full explanations here. When comparing Java and Kotlin, this article from InfoWorld puts it succinctly:

The question of whether to choose Kotlin or Java for new development has been coming up a lot in the Android community since the Google I/O announcement, although people were already asking the question in February 2016 when Kotlin 1.0 shipped. The short answer is that Kotlin code is safer and more concise than Java code, and that Kotlin and Java files can coexist in Android apps, so that Kotlin is not only useful for new apps, but also for expanding existing Java apps…The typical time quoted for a Java developer to learn Kotlin is a few hours—a small price to pay to eliminate null reference errors, enable extension functions, support functional programming, and add coroutines.

JetBrains released Kotlin 1.2 yesterday, with some pretty helpful updates. To start, Kotlin 1.2 compiles 25% faster than Kotlin 1.1. More exciting to developers? It’s now multi platform. Meaning, the same codebase can be used to build the back- and frontend of Android apps.

What do you think of Kotlin? Have you made the switch? Will you try to learn it? Let us know on LinkedIn and Twitter!

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Secure Holiday Shopping: Tips on How to Stay Safe

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: November 27, 2017

secure holiday shopping

Image: https://www.invespcro.com/blog/global-online-retail-spending-statistics-and-trends/

There’s no doubt you’ll be doing some, if not all, of your holiday shopping online this year. While most of us do it, statistics show that only 29% of us have privacy concerns. You may be in the holiday spirit, but there are others who come out during this season looking to hack and steal identities. Reports from 2016 show that $16 billion was stolen from about 15 million U.S. consumers. Exercise caution during your shopping because as we all know, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Passwords, passwords, passwords
Even though it might be easier to reuse the same password for almost every account, change this habit! Each time you create a password it should be unique, complicated, and only used for one account. Use a mix of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. It’s also a good idea to completely overhaul your current passwords before we’re fully in the swing of the holidays.

Don’t save your information
Many websites boast a faster, hassle-free checkout if you simply have them save your credit card information. This may be tempting, but just don’t do it. You lose control of your information when a third party site saves it for you. Take the extra two minutes to find your card and enter in its information when confirming an online purchase.

Finalize purchases at home
Sure, it can be a blast to sit at Starbucks and scroll through gift ideas while you enjoy your beverage. Just make sure you don’t actually purchase anything while using public wifi. Not many of us have access to a VPN, so it’s safer to brainstorm your ideas while in a public space, but don’t do any purchasing until you’re home. Even then, double check that your URL reads https:// and make sure there is a padlock in the address bar. If you don’t see either of these, you’ll want to cancel that order and try again somewhere else.

Don’t follow email links
Countless scams are conducted via email. If there’s a great deal being advertised, then it should be visible on the company’s website. Avoid following links, shortened bitly links, or coupon codes, especially if you see it on social media first.

Stay up-to-date on all your accounts
You should consistently monitor your bank accounts all year round, but be extra diligent during the holidays. Monitor the purchases you’ve made and cross reference your receipts to ensure everything lines up. Use a credit card to make online purchases; this way, the money is not withdrawn directly from your account. If there is a purchase that doesn’t look familiar, contact your bank immediately to rectify the situation.

Use websites you trust
Just as you would be weary of a brick and mortar store if something felt a bit off, exercise this same caution online. If you can, stick with trusted, big-name stores like Amazon. Many times the apps from places like these have an extra layer of security, so consider using them to make purchases if you have to while in public.

We wish you didn’t have to worry about something as negative as identity theft during your holiday shopping, but unfortunately it’s a real threat. Use caution and be smart about any online purchases, and this season will pass by smoothly!

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