Category Archives: Technology

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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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. Furthermore, it’s an open source, statically typed language created by JetBrains. Also known as the makers of IntelliJ. In fact, predictions state that Kotlin will surpass Java as the primary language for Android apps by next December.

Kotlin has been open source since 2012. However, 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. Additionally, this is the first third-party language Google supports.

So, 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. We’ve listed them 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

So, if even one of those reasons intrigues you, read the full explanations here. Now, 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 Twitter. Or, share your process on LinkedIn.

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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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Two Technology Trends that Will Change How You Live Your Life

This Post was written by Ryan Graham
Date posted: July 10, 2017

Technology has been improving drastically for a while now. It seems like there is always something new on the horizon that draws buzz and attention in this emerging tech world. Even if you are in a leadership position or have an entrepreneurial mindset, think about how you can leverage these technologies to improve your business or personal life.

Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality
We have seen the advancement of both AR and VR, especially over the past few years. Augmented reality is a computer generated image appearing in the user’s vision of the real world. For example, augmented reality made a colossal step when Pokémon Go released in the AppStore and Google Play Store, generating over 100 million downloads. The market has been preparing and developing for these applications, once they start taking off, be ready for an AR and VR version of pretty much anything you can think of.

Samsung has introduced their Samsung Gear VR, which supports over 700 different applications. Computer-generated, three dimensional images that interact within a real or physical way of using special equipment is virtual reality. Samsung’s gadget allows you to completely change how you view and interact with the world.

Embed from Getty Images

Internet of Things
IoT revolves around the communication of machine-to-machine. It’s built on cloud computing networks and networks of data gathering sensors. Everyone says the overall goal of IoT is to make everything in our lives “smart”. Cloud-based applications are the biggest part of this movement. These applications transmit and transfer the data coming from the sensors, where the cloud enables the apps to work for you anywhere.

As of right now, this includes applications such as Google Home and IFTTT. This application is one of a kind. IFTTT allows you to synchronize two applications. It triggers one of the applications to take action when something occurs within the other. For example, when you pass a certain geographical location near your house, IFTTT will send a signal from your mapping device on your phone to your automated garage door application and open your garage. This is just one example of how you can utilize cloud-based applications to make your life easier.

If you’re not an early adopter or even part of the early majority, it’s ok. These technology trends are in the latter stages of growth and getting cheaper and more sophisticated. Once these go completely mainstream, it will not only change how you consume entertainment, it will also change how you live your everyday life.

Connect with Ryan on LinkedIn or follow him, and let us know your thoughts on Twitter!

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn

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