I Created a Basic Infographic About Machine Learning from Scratch

Anyone who is into infographics or visual depictions of data and information, should check out what I created out of basically all of my own assets. I started trying to think of a background layer that is unique in nature and will provide interesting infographic canvas. I also realized an infographic should be in the dimensions of 600×1800 although it doesn’t always have to be.

So what I did was first create this background layer in these dimensions out of a mixture of my own photography I took on an iPad, graphic design I created from scratch, filters to existing assets I had, and general playfulness.

The first images are filtered and changed (by me) images of a face through visual design that I orignally photographed of a statue of sorts here in Warsaw. It is a face thst was siting in water, which I photographed. Below is what I sid with it through filtere wnd grwphic design, thn I i ported it into the infographic.

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Next I decided to use a brick wall and a tower from photographs I also took. The brick wall is an a very important brick and landmark in Warsaw and offers a great background texture to be used for the info text or data of the infographic, or that was my initial intention until I realized how dark and vivid it is.

Then I decided to add a bunch of filters, paint brush strokes and eraser action to top it off. And I ended up with this concept of machine learning. Thus here is the bery basic and simple infographic. I will continue to create infographics and make more elaborate ones in the future — possibly in different dimensions or offering more of my assets or new graphic design designed from scratch.

I actually just started experimenting with different image assets I had and tried to turn something i to this format in terms of pixel dimensions and it was not thoughht out or planned. I only decided to turn it into an AI infographic after I realized the face at the bottom could be used for such a metaphor or signify AI used for different aspects  — from enterprise to consumer machine learning and from manufacturing to IoT devices.

Here was the original idea I started out with and may continue working with as it has almost like a maze-design for where I wanted to input the data and key phrases:

 

And after considering the different options and designs, I’ve decided to keep working on the idea into different forms you can see below:

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As some of you may also recall, I briefly touched upon the history of infographics or one of the founders of the modern concept of an infographic, Fritz Kahl, in my recent interview with a representstive of the mobile game studio Arte, a studio publishing the upcoming Homo Machina game.

Infographics are a huge fad right now and an impressive revenue steam for anyone who can create them from scratch and can do both the visuals and find the right data for them — or either or. This is because many start ups and co panies are leveraging them across websites and social media to showcase their brands and products — as well as differenciste what they offer from competition. I hope to work more on such creative works and be commissioned if anyone is interested on further ideas.

I previously was commissioned finding the data and research for an infographic by an infographic company called Visual.ly. I would not mind working further with this company on either thwt aspect of infographic design and creation or any other of the infographic process. It is a bit difficult however when they do not reply to your e-maila and the previous person you worked under has moved on — even though you were never paid or had a chance to cash in on the initial check for the work that was compelted. Either way, that full infographic is available on my portfolio or can be accessed here (yes it is much more elaborate, but also done with multiple people over a much longer time span):

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Updated My Avernun 7 Storyline Idea & Creating Game Art

I have decided to rescan and try maybe continuing to work on my story idea for the beginning of a new indy game, possibly Avernun 7. I have previously tried to take pictures of the old hand-written stuff I came up with one afternoon on a whim for a game idea and the scanning, or images created from the notes, didn’t turn out well. However, I highlighted some of the key ideas along with some art and marketing writing for such games, particularly Spiderweb Software’s, in this blog post.

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Taken from SpiderwebSoftware.com

As many of you know who have been reading this blog, I am a huge fan of Jeff Vogel’s Spiderweb Software and its games, particularly Avernun: Escape from the Pit. This game has a strong message behind it that I would summarize with the nouns exile, anguish, survival, rebellion, and above all else, triumph.

I originally played this game on an iPad Mini on a plane ride and trip to Poland from the U.S. and got hooked. It felt like the true WRPG or CRPG that the iPad at the time lacked and had no alternatives (even Baldurs Gate Enhanced Edition hasn’t come out back then on iOS or mobile). So it reminded me of one of my favorite genres of games: titles like Divine Divinity, Diablo and the Infnite Engine games (Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale and Planetscape Torment).

 

 

Images are taken from Spiderweb Software’s website and based on in-game art 

Although I have not played any of the proceeding games in the series — the latest remake series now offers three of them already released although Avernun 3has not been released for iPad yet — I have read, researched and analyzed them. I have read many of the latest reviews of Avernun 3 and it, along with the initial Exile 3 release back in the 90s, seems to be the most ambitious title in the series. I have also been following Jeff Vogel’s recent interviews and he said that in his youth when Exile 3 came out he had many crazy ideas he liked to implement in his game design, and he recreated the title faithfully with the latest remake.

I was not able to complete my initial Avernun Escape from the Pit game run due to my iPad Mini being stolen along with the save data being wiped. This is why I have decided to replay it before purchasing both Avernun 2 and 3when it is released on the iPad (hopefully soon). I actually got almost to the end, or where I had different paths I could have taken like chose to fight the guardian dragon and escape to the surface. However, due to my saved data being wiped, I never got to properly see any of the possible endings.

Right now I am about a half way through the game now and enjoying it immersely. It is a living, breahting world, full of wonders and surprises. There are caves to esplore, huge number of towns to navigate as well as various quests to complete; There are magical orbs that spak to you in the game to find, various artifacts, weapons and items to salvage; and a variety of ways to upgrade the characters in your party. The Avernun series are a complete RPG package and you can play them co fortably on any of the iPad’s touchscreens.

This brings me back to my initial point I wrote this blog post about. I wanted to showcase my ideas for Avernun 7, or a similar game in that veil of storytelling. Thus, I have decided to rescan my hand-written pages I used to started the introduction. This is because the previously taken with my iPad camera pages did not show up very defined, as any readers of my previous blog post may attest.

So here is the latest scan using HP Scan software from my printer. The HP scanning software (HP Smart) seems to work a lot better than Adobe Scan app (I previously tried this as well) or just using my iPad camera, which is interesting that HP has such good scanning software that can use that same camera and make more light of what it scans).

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Screenshots:

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As you see, this is just an idea and gave me an ides to continue with descriptive writing because it is fun and creative. I would love to work for a game company or an indy dev studio on such writing ideas, marketing ads, or even do some artwork and visual design (or concept art as I prefer to work with scenes or landscapes rather than people). I may continue on this idea and refine it further by also typing it up.

Speaking of which, here is some digital art I created that could be used for scenery, or in-game title screens or even intro art to indy RPG titles where you enter a nee location for instance.

 

 

 

All my images, visuals or art added on here or anywhere on this site is my copyright and if you want to work with me, commission me or hire me for additional work or to use any of my work — whether wrt, graphics or writing — we can work together. I can also create multimedia content for your brand by combining my writing, art, marketing or video productions into something interesting.

Is Wordpress AMP Worth Tapping Into for Faster Web Speeds?

67CF540C-B813-4B4B-AF91-B875E2D2CE00There is a trend right now to create as efficient and feature rich websites, especially for businesses who need to retain page views and page clicks from as many visitors as possible. This is really a huge part of customer retention and business intelligence because the more customers remain on a website and the more pages they visit within a site, the more successful the business’ online presence will be.

I previously covered how Google rankings plays a large part in driving business and keeping a bounce rate low (customers bouncing away from the website after visiting) is important for businesses to continue thriving. Customer retention is needed with a low bounce rate and keeping existing customers interest through additional content or quality Web design is a large part of business revenue. However, attracting new customers is also important for most businesses.

Google has huge power in filtering which websites get put on top of its search rankings and which get buried with the rubble. Things like many inbound links, quality and relevant content, good metadata with relevant and good use of long-tail keywords, as well as an AI algorithm that is constantly changing all play a part. However, page speed, or efficient speeds and set ups for mobile as well as desktop versions of a website, is another indicator a website will be successful and remain on top of Google’s rankings.014B68E2-FC4B-4B0C-8583-9492642BCDCF

Think of it this way, if you are a customer shopping online, would you shop at a slow loading and inefficient Web infrastructure? Or would you opt for the competitor that will load instantly and allow you to seamlessly search through products of your choosing to purchase? The answer should be simple for anyone who does shopping online, particularly from a mobile device where instant gratification is of the utmost importance.

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Google has admitted last year that page speed impacts their ranking system with a statement on its blog:

“People want to be able to find answers to their questions as fast as possible — studies show that people really care about the speed of a page. Although speed has been used in ranking for some time, that signal was focused on desktop searches. Today we’re announcing that starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches… The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.“

Thus relvant content may be more important and overall site quality than just page speed, but it still plays a large role in search and you have to keep in mind that it impacts other aspect of a customer’s experince visiting a website. There are various aspects to successful customer retention and further business growth besides having good rankings. Speed, particularly for mobile users, is one aspect that should benefit a business regardless of content.

Once Everything is in Order Work on Page Optimization & Speed

After, having a good platform built and up and running, a website that is frature-rich in content and all the SEO twken care of, you may wonder, what do I do next to drive business? The answer may be more simple than you think. Optimizing your website by leveraging reliable hosting providers as well as using efficient analytics, cloud (SaaS for instance) tools and great CMS are all good ways to go forward. However, page speed is also a great way to remain on top of the game.

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Not only will it be good for customer retention and drive further business, but also impact your overall rankings on Google and bounce rate (the faster the site pages load the lower your bounce rate ill be). This is where the open source Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project comes in.

This is a service that I think may have started out being heavily tailored for mobile site optimization, particularly mobile sites relying on Google’s and WordPress’ services (hence why it has mobile in its name). However, even though the focus may still mostly be mobile, since websites are a bit more limited in content if they want to utilize AMP or Web admins have to make some compromises, it is a Web service that can be leveraged across browsers, operating systems, hosting platforms and CMSs.

You can check out the scope of support by visiting the AMP Project website. Administrators of content platforms such as Yahoo, Bing, Google, LinkedIn and Flipboard can all tap into it; and it supports various CMSs besides WordPress — such as Drupal and Squarespace. 63B18CE0-B294-4317-9668-EA12EFE9D62D

The service is automatic because the host detects the client connecting to a website and decides which version of a website to load: the AMP or non-AMP version. Thus two versions of a website exist for users to  tap into and levarage for different consumers and needs.

And get this. There is even a broser that taps into AMP versions of websites automatically and makes searching for optimized websites seamless. It is called the AMP Browser. You can read more about it and download it here.

“The AMP Browser is an open source web browser based on Chromium, which accelerates web browsing by automatically loading AMP & MIP web pages, saves bandwidth by enabling data compression, and respects privacy by blocking ads and tracking scripts.”

Here is information on how to get started creating an AMP page from scratch. As you may have noticed, it is definitely something worth doing and shouldn’t cost you anything, but your time to invest in. The downside of AMP may be that it may limit some website customization and features, but depnding on the type of business you run, this may be something that won’t even affect you. Theresults should be obvious and it is an open and constsntly evolving service that you should see benefits down the line with as well.

Using Sistrix PageSpeed Insight and Various Analytics to Drive Further Results

Once you have a website that is run efficiently with good Googl rankings, SEO optimization, relevant content and good page load speeds, you should tap into analytics to see your website grow in business and traffic. You can also monitor of follow other top domains to see what works and what doesn’t.

Sistrix is a service that tests various things in terms of Google rankings related to the top domains on the Web. You have to register an account in order to use it, however it is recommended you do if you run a business online. Here is what its current rankings lists as the most relevant and search-friendly websites on the Web right now:

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You may have noticed that the big players with a lot of resources are on top of this game. This is no secret as they have the best optimized SEO, huge number of visitors, and many inbound as well as outbound links.

Here is one of the websites analyzed that is losing tremendously on Google’s Web rankings and overall online presence.

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As you see, the domain’s social media presence as well as SEO are down by a lot, hence this overall low performance on Google rankings. This shows you thst you need a social media presence to keep thos visitors coming and inbound links being generated.

The nice thing about Sistrix besides all these options it offers to check rankings, relevant keywords that work and overall site performance, is it offers a system to keep your website optimized. Here is how this option looks like once you register with Sistrix:

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However, now that we got to the bottom of some of the things that matter in keeping a site optimized, lets look at what websites and businesses need to keep their sites relevant and continuing to provide great customer retention.

You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insight analytics to test your results once applying AMP.  To check an AMP site using these analytics, simply add /amp to the end of the domain’s url.

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I checked TheWrap.com on PageSpeed Tools Insight and it only got a 55/64 then 59/68 second time I checked. When I enabled amp as part of the url thus implementing thewrap.com/amp in the test I still got a poor score of 49/60. Southernliving.com got a score of 42/70 then 57/69 second time I checked. When I checked the amp version with /amp/ at end of url thus southernliving.com/amp/ I got a better score of 74/80 (thus in this case it was a dlear differnce maker). Alternet.org is a funny case because its mobile speed actually got a better score than the desktop. It got 69/52 twice I checked. When I clecked Alternet.org/amp/ it got much higher results of 83/87 with AMP enabled. Again, solidifying the results that AMP inproves speeds.

Accelrated Mobile Pages Offers Low Barriers of Entry

Again, this is where boosting website load speeds will play a crucial role for good rankings and overall customer retention. Page speed is really one of the things that you cannot go wrong with when looking at ways to optimize a site that already has great inbound link presence, social media presence, SEO, and quality as well as relevant content. Again, I want to stress the importance this is particularly for mobile users and particularly for eCommerce websites.

The nice thing about AMP is that it is flexible so both experienced html coders and novice web designers relying on CMSs can twp into it. WordPress has a simple plugin that will do the job for any company running on WordPress’ servers as long as the company or user has a business plan with WordPress. However, WordPress by itself is very limited in terms of creating Web content (relies heavily on themes for one), so this solution isn’t for everyone.

For beginner Web designers, smaller companies without a lot of resources, asmins of already-existing WordPress sites and those who do not need fancy websites or many features, using a WordPress plugin is a smart and asy way to tap into AMP. For everyone else, AMP should be at least considered as both AMP and non-AMP versions of a website can run simultaneously and the service ill automatically run AMP when possible. Here is some insight the way this works from WordPress plugin’s section on AMP:

“With the plugin active, all posts on your site will have dynamically generated AMP-compatible versions, accessible by appending /amp/ to the end your post URLs. For example, if your post URL is http://example.com/2016/01/01/amp-on/, you can access the AMP version at http://example.com/2016/01/01/amp-on/amp/. If you do not have pretty permalinks enabled, you can do the same thing by appending ?amp=1, i.e. http://example.com/?p=123&amp=1”

Keep in mind that websites running an AMP version will need to keep the content the same across both versions of a website as Google eliminates bait-and-switch tactics that are sometimes prevalent on the Web. According to a statement from Google’s blog late last year, the company rolled an updated to AMP addressing this issue:

“Starting Feb 1, 2018, the policy requires that the AMP page content be comparable to the (original) canonical page content…

“In a small number of cases, AMP pages are used as teaser pages which create a particularly bad user experience since they only contain minimal content. In these instances, users have to click twice to get to the real content. Below is an example of how this may look like: a brief text of the main article and then asking the user to click to visit another page to complete reading the article…

“Where we find that an AMP page doesn’t contain the same critical content as its non-AMP equivalent, we will direct our users to the non-AMP page. This does not affect Search ranking. However, these pages will not be considered for Search features that require AMP, such as the Top Stories carousel with AMP.“

Thus, if you want to create two versions of a website, one for AMP users and one for non-AMP users, make sure the two versions are as close as possible content-wise and free of clutter. The AMP version will also be more limited in terms of ads or scripts.

Either way, AMP is something worth tapping into for many Web hosts and will keep gaining adoption across the Web with social media networks, mobile websites and CMS services relying more and more on its presence. Google is backing it and has a lot of saying power with further revisions, thus it isn’t totally independent or open source in terms of freedom. However, that is a price worth paying for in order to get great page speed and high rankings.

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All artwork included in this article was created by me (Maciej Duraj/Mike Lata) and is copyrighted @ Mike-Lata.com. If you want to use it, contact me for commissions.

Some Apple Computer Concept Images I’ve Created

I’ve decided to keep playing with my previous work into new concepts and ideas, particularly those bordering on the abstract. This time it was with Apple-related stuff, including an iPad which I created digitally from scratch and some previous images I out together.

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Here are some other revisions:

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These are just some ideas I’ve been throwing together in making Apple abstract, but still serious in what it represents. Some of you may remember Apple from back in the original Macintosh days when the famous 1984 commercial (inspired by George Orwell’s famous book) made it stand out among competition and had the revolutionary edge to it. Here is that commercial:

All artwork included in this article was created by me (Maciej Duraj/Mike Lata) and is copyrighted @ Mike-Lata.com. If you want to use it, contact me for commissions.

Getting More Out of my iPad Through Visual Design

IMG_2827The iPad has become my multipurpose device when it comes to content creation as well as content consumption. I am using it as an artistic instrument and a drawing tablet rather than what it was originally intended for. This is real interesting because I am having a blast doing it and I am doing it on a regular 2017 iPad and not the Pro that has the awesome multi-touch stylus that does angles well.

I am using Art Studio right now because I still have not updated to iOS 11 due to game compatibility — I have many games that haven’t been updated to 128bit and would like to complete them before moving on. Then I will dig into the infamous  Procreate mentioned in this best of iPad art app write up on Creative Bloq.

I am doing this while watching Illustrator tutorials and trying to get into vector-based art on my Macs. I have Illustrator, but I hate the aspect of memorizing keystrokes and dealing with so many options at once such as vector masks, live paint, its weird trace options and just learning the program. Art Studio for me right now is just robust enough to do fun things while using a stylus to draw.

Yes, I am using a stylus on a regular, non-pro iPad, and it works well although not nearly as well as the iPad Pro’s. I got the one that has two tips: the fat finger-like tip that almost looks like an eraser, and works well as one when using the eraser tool, and the finer point encased by a see-through round plastic tip. The stylus is available on Amazon for $15 and is reviewed at 4.5 stars currently.

It surprisingly works real well, like I mentioned, and can be lined up well during tracings due to the circular point being see through and the true endpoint being in the middle of it. It truly shows you don’ really need the iPad Pro to start creating great works. Here are some of my recent projects, you may have noticed I have been adding to my graphic design section of the site:

 

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Everything in these pieces was hand-drawn using the stylus, app, iPad and no cut and pasted objects. SOme of the objects, like the door in the first image was done using Art Studio’s square selection tool and fill border, but rest including the circle in the second image was done entirely using the stylus and layers. As you can see, you can do some cool stuff even on the non pro-version of the iPad with a descent stylus and Art Studio.
This is an app not much talked about due to other options out there like Assembly or Procreate, but I  like it more than Adobe’s drawing options and it has great use of effects and layers on top of a canvas that reacts well to touch. I will continue to update the graphic design section so look for more content and may keep posting about it as well. So get to drawing, because whatever tool you use or device and whether you are on an iPad, Bamboo, or a Mac/PC, there is no excuse with so many options available for artists.

 

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Here is a third image I have been working on lately (post publishing this post initially) and it has also been drawn all on iPad using a photo of a cloud in the background (the white one coming out) that I added my own clouds onto and the bird(s). I tried to also add a UFO effect of sorts and some lighting in later revisions:

 

 

 

The funny thing it was created from scratch using the iPad even as a camera and the added on content all via Art Studio on top of the single photo of the light blown-up cloud in the background with UFO coming out of it. Everything else is hand drawn though using a stylus.

Opportunities in Working Remotely Now Stronger than Ever

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Created by Mike Lata

Working remotely has been a dream for many professionals in the technology sector since the Web took off in the early ‘90s. However, it technology a couple of decades to catch up to this dream. Now professionals in a wide range of fields ranging from graphic design to software development are working from home and managing their schedules while freeing companies from overhead costs (thus capital expenditures) in their recruitment & hiring efforts.

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Created by Mike Lata using Art Studio for iPad and open source image insert.

The benefits are enormous for both employees and employers alike. However, the field continues to expand in scope as technology grows and start-ups are offering unique ways for workers to collaborate. There are more remote technical opportunities than ever today through various Web technologies and software/hardware advancements.

Teleconferening Opportunities Continue to Expand with the Cloud

An example of such advancements making this possible is companies holding Google Hangout meetings that include both on-site and remote workers collaborating on a project together, editing the project, and seeing their changes tracked in real time. Google Docs is being followed by other cloud collaborative software such as Adobe’s (Creative Cloud), Microsoft’s (Office), and Apple’s (iWork) suites. Each are implementing collaboration with on-demand editing and real time publishing.

Another example of advancements being made in the field of telecommunications, in terms of working remotely, is video conferencing. Various services are currently available ranging from Skype to again Google Hangout that bring the employers to the office space from across the globe. The technology has advanced to this stage due to widespread and far-ranging broadband adoption; this is combined with software that allows synchronous communication with non existent or close to non existent network packet loss.

Today’s collaborative software allows work to be much more efficient than one person sitting in front of their desk at work and e-mailing revisions around the office while waiting for feedback and multiple documents being shuffled around e-mail attachments, as it used to be the case. These are just some examples of the technologies employers and employees alike have at their disposal today through telecommunication and broadband Internet accessmbeimg widespread. It took years for the broadband access to be able to support such infrastructures and Silicon Valley has also paved the way through software for the dream to become a reality.

Hardware Solutions for Remote Workers

Software is continually being refined with cloud integration, SaaS and storage solutions such as Dropbox that allow users to share files between one another. However, more-efficient hardware is also making remote work easier than ever today. One hardware-based integration with teleconferencing software is robotics with cameras attached to an on-wheels chassis.

A remote worker can feel as if they are sitting at the office with co-workers and interact with them, but in reality they are sitting at home physically, and simply using a keyboard or tablet to move a robot around. They can see each co worker with a camera attached to the robot that transmits dat in real time over the Internet and participate in discussions. The tech described here is a telepresence robot called “EmBot” from Double Robotics and includes an iPad screen and a Segway-like base for movement.

A Wired feature titled, ”My Life As A Robot” delves into this advancing technology with a personalized account of one person’s journey of sitting at home physically, but virtually moving around an office space full of people. The tech described here is a telepresence robot or “EmBot” from Double Robotics and includes an iPad screen and a Segway-like base for movement.

When describing what it feels like being a walking and talking person inside an office space, Emily Dreyfuss says, ”I feel like a dog, the recipient of gawking smiles that say, Awwww, you’re so adorably unable to take care of yourself. But, most importantly, I am surprised to find that being a robot is delightful. It’s thrilling. I am in the office! There is the kitchen! There is Sam! Hi, everyone! I am here!”

This is a technology that is bridging the gap between being able to express body language, gestures and other non-verbal means of communications that has been the roadblock impossible to replicate virtually until now. It still is in its infancy, but as iPads or other tablets advance alongside camera software and 4G/wifi coverage; it will only improve.

There are obviously a lot of hurdles to overcome with this technology before it really reaches the mainstream in remote workforces — including functionality and some latency issues that still arise as networks get clogged with users and fiber optics aren’t widespread yet. There really needs to be user input of 1:1 for this to function efficiently with minimal ping or pocket loss in terms of latency. However, this is just one example of how companies of today and tomorrow are becoming ever more remote in functionality.

This is a technology that is bridging the gap between workers being in different parts of the globe, but feeling physically present at the location of their companies. It will never be the same as someone physically present at a location who is able to express body language, gestures and other non-verbal means of communications, with the possible exception of virtual reality technologies that are also making headways. As fiber optics and 4G coverage continues to improve we will see strides in virtual reality used by workplaces as well.

Startups Paving the Way

Startups have been the places to look for what we can see in remote work possibilities and software remote workers can take advantage of. This is because many start ups have lower marginal earnings and rely on remote workers and telecommunications rather than having big offfice spaces that can fill many workers. Often, when these start ups create a great product that can be used by bigger firms for remote work or other possibilities, they get acquired or bought out by the bigger firms in the long run.

We can look at what sorts of directions these start-up companies are going — thus predict trends — as well as see their influence on bigger firms, both through ideas and acquisitions, by looking at the mobile app space. Apps for tablets and smartphones are really where many start-up technologird make their presence felt before really focusing on enterprise markets.

There are now various database software infrastructures that allow employees to edit projects, comment on others, collaborate and communicate directly with their peers from one database. This field is also improving with mobile devices being ever more integrated.

Startups have accelerated these options through ever more competitive price points of entry for other startups or companies to utilize and leverage. The end result is that companies from the Silicon Valley seize on these trends or opportunities and often end acquiring the start ups or their technology to focus more on the B2B side of the equation. This means, however, that all workers from those who freelance to those employed by bigger firms can benefit from collaborative and telecommuting software.

The technology has advanced to this stage due to widespread and far-ranging broadband adoption; this is combined with software that allows synchronous communication with non existent or close to non existent network packet loss. However, there are still hurdles that need to be overcome as highlighted in the Wired feature about the Segway-like EmBot on wheels chassis and user input using such hardware not being yet up to par with the vision.

Another Game Shows iOS, iPad in Particular, is Becoming an Amazing Gaming Platform

IMG_2008So, I was browsing the new game list on Pocket Gamer and TouchArcade only to find one of the biggest titles of last year (made its debut in 2016 for Xbox One and later Windows and PS4) just hit the App Store. The game is none other than Playdead’s Inside.

 

This is a huge deal. You may ask how huge? Well the game, for one, got a perfect score or 10 out of 10 on IGN. It was rated as one of the best and most innovative games last year.

This amazing piece of narrative and game design is a psychological thriller of sorts where you guide a boy across landscapes full of peril and danger to safety. I guess describing it can almost summarize describing a game like Ico or The Last Guardian. However, this game plays in a 2D or side-scroller perspective and consists of mostly avoidance of danger and puzzle solving.

The game won all sorts of awards and was even mentioned as the game of the year by much of the press of last year. In fact it being one of the swaying points for me whether I would our hase the Xbox One or PS4 since for a while it seemed like it would stay exclusive to Microsoft’s platform.

It is pretty amazging how indy devs have come and the sway they now have over us gamers. They create some of the most interesting and thought-provoking games for us to sink our teeth into and Inside as well as its prequel (also available on iOS) Limbo prove just how far indy devs have come.

I still haven’t played much of Inside due to my incredible large backlog of games I have to get through on the iPad, but I look forward to playing more of it. I recently also made the plunge on a game called Severed, which made its way from the Sony Vita to the App Store.

These sort of games and experiences are what to me makes gaming on the iPad such a unique and interesting experience. Sometimes the controls do not make the transition as well as the actual games (in terms of content, graphics and everything else), but other times they offer an even superior experience (Severed could be considered an example of this statement as it was designed for touch form the ground up).

There are also many titles being released lately that have been custom-designed for touch and the iOS platform and aren’t available anywhere else. This is what makes gaming on the iPad both a blessing and a curse.

A blessing due to the options we have and constant games that come out of the blue and change the platform’s expectations. A curse due to not having enough time to play them all or try every interesting game that comes along. This is why reading previews, reviews and following the gaming media can make an iOS gamer’s life a bit easier.

It is also worth noting that big-time console and PC games are making their way to the platform and proving the control options are just fine as well as the gameplay and graphics these games bring with them. Now back to that backlog, where should I start first? Avadon or how bout Oceanhorn?

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