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Apps for Choosing the Perfect Paint

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Choosing the color of a house or apartment building can give you a lot of stress. You want it to stand out, but in the right way; yet the building still needs to look like it matches the neighborhood.

You don’t want to be that bright purple matte house in a sea of beiges and grays. But you also want your style and personality to shine through. Looking at a swatch of color in the home improvement store isn’t much help, but fortunately there are apps that will come to your rescue.

First, your should recognize that painting a residential structure yourself is rarely a good idea. Go to a local professional company that won’t just do a standout job, but can help you identify a color scheme that’s perfect for you.

Next, start considering which apps can help you find the ideal color, just in case you want a little more variety. The DIY Home Color app enables you to explore a slew of recommendations based on style, the effect you want to achieve, and general trends.

An app for all homeowners

The HGTV Color Guide is a sure thing, because the Home and Garden network is already a proven expert in all things home-related. Browse by color, check out more than 150 themes, and enjoy insider tips on the best paint colors by style.

If you’re feeling really ambitious, the AnyPaintColor app features 130,000 hues from scores of designers, so you’ll have pretty much every option at your fingertip.

For those who have a more refined taste and are up for trendsetting when it comes to curb appeal, the Benjamin Moore Color Capture app allows you to turn any favorite photo into a color scheme.

Love that snapshot of the beach? You can mimic the photograph and the feel of that day by reproducing the palette in your mobile device.

A colorful life

Download ColorClix by Olympic Print and enjoy an approach that’s similar to Benjamin Moore, but with a more traditional twist. Sherwin-Williams’s Color Snap is another option, and this app lets you share your ideas easily.

Yet another alternative, Voice of Color, offers a similar approach but is known for designer twists that can be achieved with a frugal budget.

No matter which app helps you pick, keep in mind that nothing compares to quality paint with a professional touch. While it might seem like you’re saving a lot of money going DIY, what’s the end result really going to look like?

You certainly wouldn’t paint your car yourself, and your home has the potential to be an even bigger eye catcher (in a good or bad way).

Gadgets:

What Techies Can Learn from “Basic” Technology

It seems as if the disparity between blue-collar workers, such as mechanics and utility laborers, and the techies of Silicon Valley is getting bigger every year. But these two industries have a lot more in common than you might think. gadgets

At the heart of each is technology and innovation, though Silicon Valley has a stronger leaning toward electronic technology as opposed to old-fashioned nuts and bolts. If you recall that the old-fashioned variety is preceded modern technology, then it’s easy to see how the two can learn from each other.

For example, utility workers can boast of combined experience that’s decades longer than the technology industry. This is the industry that created debris caps to optimize safety and was literally “in the field” well before Intel sent drivers out to test rural Wi-Fi as its idea of fieldwork

Auto workers were doing test drives to ensure those Google employees got to work safely well before the Google car was a twinkle in an engineer’s eye. So what might be some of the rules and tricks of traditional technology that could transfer to contemporary high-tech?

Testing, testing

If you think a software engineer does a lot of tests, that’s nothing compared to the civil engineer who’s charged with ensuring that buildings and bridges are stable, or a utility expert who has to keep buildings safe in the event of earthquakes and other natural disasters.

The rules of testing, re-testing, and a triage system for getting as many eyes on a project as possible began in more traditional fields. Many mistakes were made in the beginning, because human lives were at stake, and the end result is that today’s engineers (in all fields) are fairly well protected when they’re on the job.

From the day the wheel was created, innovation has been the foundation of all specialties of engineering. There’s always room for improvement, whether you’re talking about a car or the latest smartphone.

There’s also a lot of overlap these days, with airplanes full of software and electrical engineering. The skill set necessary for all types of engineers, whether you’re in utility management or hardware development, is so refined that this is the reason they receive that hefty salary.

Back to basics

The greatest thing modern tech geeks can learn from their predecessors is that there’s no reason to re-invent the wheel … and safety always comes first. Look at the path that’s already been set down for you. It’s been tried and tested many times over the years, so take advantage of it.

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last update: August 29, 2014

Mobile:

Explore the New World of Mobile Banking

Our world has become a place where everyone’s glued to a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. Fewer people are visiting their bank in person these days. mobilebanking

Gone are the days when you drive to the bank, wait in the queue, and conduct a transaction with a teller in front of you. Today, we order a wire transfer while commuting to work on a bus or waiting in line at a restaurant.

What is mobile banking?

Mobile banking refers to a financial transaction conducted via a smartphone or similar mobile device. Mobile phones have become ever cheaper and therefore more available to billions of people around the globe.

This has inevitably led to mobile banking solutions that were happily embraced by customers everywhere. The introduction of apps on popular iOS and Android mobile platforms has contributed to the unprecedented success of mobile banking.

Most of the major banks such as Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citi, and HSBC offer access to banking services via mobile devices.

Mobile banking services

Most of the services offered at a typical bank branch are now available via mobile apps. For example, you can view balances, study statements, withdraw cash, deposit checks or cash, email receipts, transfer balances, view tax forms, review credit and debit card transactions, locate ATMs and branches, set account alerts, and contact customer support … all via your mobile device.

Reasons for the fast acceptance of mobile banking

There are several possible reasons for the swift and massive acceptance of mobile banking services. The main one is the convenience of being able to do banking transactions anytime, anywhere.

Most institutions are not charging any fees for mobile banking services. When it’s free, people seldom think twice before trying the service.

A bank’s reputation depends on providing an application that’s secure. Most banking apps offer a secure environment to conduct business. So it’s no surprise that mobile banking services have enjoyed positive customer response across the globe.

Mobile banking in developing nations

It’s been estimated that the total number of mobile banking users will reach 1 billion by 2015. Around 80% of these will access the services from developing nations.

Mobile banking is expected to outgrow traffic via online banking. Mobile operators are scrambling to build partnerships with banks and technology companies to increase the access to mobile banking services.

Users in emerging countries are using mobile services for paying utility bills, domestic and international money transfers, and much more.

The case for secure transactions

Despite the success of mobile banking, security experts are still concerned about the potential risks associated with banking via mobile devices. Financial institutions are increasingly scrutinized by regulators for compliance with banking rules while securing billions of transactions handled via mobile devices.

New sets of payment security standards are constantly introduced and reviewed by security experts.

It’s hard to predict the future of mobile banking. Mobile banking may wipe out many physical branch offices in the next few decades. But whatever happens, the future likely belongs to customers who will benefit from increased access to banking services.

Mobile:

Tech Makes Property Permits, Development, and Buying Easier

There was a time when Realtors were often buried in paperwork, and unable to get out into the field. Technology has changed all that, whether you’re helping clients to lease, rent, buy, or purchase property.

Not that the process of actually doing “property business” has become easier, but technology has made huge strides in streamlining the process. It goes well beyond the customer being able to compare rates online and see how large a mortgage he or she can qualify for.

Government agencies have partnered up with software companies to provide full, digital financial services, which makes meeting in person and juggling hard copies a thing of the past. You can get bundling discounts, finance your e-plan, and have 24/7 access to virtual support with the right agencies.

But this is just a couple slivers of the whole pie. Here are more ways that technology has made all property deals a lot easier.

Apps for everything

There are apps for home buyers, home sellers, real estate agents, brokers, and those who arrange mortgages. The apps range from free to somewhat pricey.

They can notify you the instant your dream house goes on the market. With regard to financing, you can keep up with the latest interest rates, monitor your credit score, and ensure your online banking is routing funds toward your housing fund.

For building permits and development projects, you can depend on cloud solutions in order to “green up” the process. It’s now simple for everyone from developers to government entities to have the latest information and forms at their fingertips.

All the players are moving into the cloud, even the Department of Defense (DoD), which could mean the traditional nightmares of red tape when you’re seeking permits may finally be getting gentler.

Digitizing the Electronic Plan Review (EPR)

The EPR is a web-based solution for everything related to permits and development. It could be just the thing for commercial buyers who are scouting out residential zones, developers looking to build the next Street of Dreams, and a host of others in the property market.

However, not all EPRs are created equally. In order to pick the best EPR for you, do your homework and match your needs to what each EPR has to offer.

This is a crucial step in the process, so don’t go with the first one you find, or depend on word of mouth. There’s a perfect fit for you out there, and it can make a world of difference when you find yourself in the middle of getting those permits filed.

Clean:

The Emergence of LinkedIn as the Recruiter’s Favorite Tool

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LinkedIn has dramatically changed the landscape of recruiting services in the past few years. This site created a whole new way to find the right candidates in the shortest amount of time.

Previously, companies and recruiters depended on sites such as Dice, Monster, and CareerBuilder to find qualified workers. The drawback with this approach was that recruiters could use only the information gleaned from the resume supplied by the candidate.

It’s not necessarily possible for HR professionals to know whether the resume is current or not. Many candidates update their profiles only when they decide to pursue new jobs.

What’s different about LinkedIn

LinkedIn provided a platform for working professionals to combine social networking with a living version of their resume. It enabled them to network with other professionals around the world.

LinkedIn allows professionals to keep in touch with colleagues from previous employers and to study potential future employers. The benefit of retaining and growing your professional network is obvious in an interconnected world.

Everyone is more likely to keep his or her profile current on LinkedIn, because it’s always visible to the person’s professional network. LinkedIn also allows members to request professional recommendations from peers, bosses, and professional contacts.

Recommendations are a great way for recruiters and future employers to assess the candidate’s strengths and skills. LinkedIn also allows recruiters to contact a member directly to match job openings.

A game-changer for recruiters

LinkedIn offers services to recruiters via the Hiring Solutions platform. Hiring Solutions consists of LinkedIn Recruiter, LinkedIn Job Postings, LinkedIn Employment Branding, and the LinkedIn Talent Pipeline.

• LinkedIn Recruiter provides recruiters access to a massive database of more than 300 million members around the globe.

• LinkedIn Job Postings allows recruiters to buy targeted ads, which are displayed to the targeted demographic.

• LinkedIn Employment Branding is a service that allows companies to create their own career portal on LinkedIn, with job postings, company benefits, and other company news.

• LinkedIn Talent Pipeline allows recruiters to monitor and track potential candidates with skills that match a company’s job openings.

LinkedIn also offers automated features to “source” candidates more effectively. Employers can cut down the amount of time needed to find new candidates.

They don’t need to maintain an in-house database of potential candidates anymore. Instead, companies can tap into a single, global source of candidates at any time. LinkedIn is changing the structure of the $130 billion recruiting industry with its innovative Hiring Solutions.

The most compelling reasons to recruit via LinkedIn

• Recent expansion into new markets such as China

• Easy access to a searchable database of professionals

• LinkedIn profiles are much more accurate than those on other social media sites

• It takes candidates less than a minute to review and apply for new jobs

• LinkedIn supports ads targeted toward top level executives in selected companies

• LinkedIn offers the InMail feature so recruiters may communicate directly with potential candidates

LinkedIn continues to transform the recruiting industry. It appears to have more room to grow and recruiters see several compelling reasons to go with LinkedIn.

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Signs You’ll Thrive at an Online University

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Do you dream of earning a degree while writing term papers on your couch in comfy pajamas with Grey’s Anatomy on mute? It can be a reality for students at an online university, but not everyone is cut out for it.

While you might be able to train yourself to complete a degree program, you might be better suited to a more structured atmosphere where you have to attend lectures and show up to class in person. Are you ready to find out which camp you likely belong to?

First, you should recognize that any reputable online university is accredited and has likely been around for some time. In many cases, these online universities are actually virtual versions of brick-and-mortar schools.

This can be convenient since there’s still a bit of a stigma in certain circles toward online degrees, although that’s been changing. Going online isn’t a shortcut or “easier,” but it can certainly be more convenient. So what might indicate this is for you?

1. You hate procrastination

You’ll have deadlines and perhaps even more work in an online university, so you’ll need to thrive with your own time management. Some students need a professor physically breathing down their necks in order to get assignments in on time. If you’re prone to procrastination, this might not be for you.

2. You’re a total Type A

Type A personalities do phenomenally well with online schools because they’re naturally driven and ambitious, and want to do their best. If this is you, make sure the online school has plenty of options for working virtually in groups, so you don’t get a case of cabin fever. Many Type A’s are also extroverts, but not all of them.

3. You’re a bit of a loner

This might seem to fly in the face of sign number two above, but for those who always hated raising their hand in class and feel they communicate better in writing, online universities are a place you can shine. It’s a medium that’s more comfortable for you and allows you to process and reflect rather than being forced into the Socratic method.

4. You’re tech savvy

No matter how user-friendly the classroom, you’re going to need some tech skills to succeed with an online school. If you’re naturally inclined toward technology, this might be a perfect match. If you’re not, there are training courses to help you catch up.

Think you have what it takes to make the most of an online university? Then it’s time to start preparing and researching which schools are your best match.

Mobile:

Best Photo Apps to Ditch Grey Hair

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The whole geek chic movement might be terrific if you’re looking for a companion who shares your interests, and also looks great, but what about when you’re battling grey hair? It’s only natural for geeks to go online to find love, but that means putting your best photo forward.

Luckily, there are many great apps that enable you to edit those grey hairs away. Which ones are the best of 2014?

PicLab HD is a favorite, and it’s available on both iOS and Android for just $1.99. In addition to some great filters to fade out that grey, it gives you the ability to add typography to photos, play with layers and photos, move positions, and basically have all the best functions of Photoshop on an app.

Just be careful with over-editing (which is too easy), because you want your date to recognize you when you meet in person.

Geeking out

With Sktchy, you can turn any photo into an instant sketch, which not only hides flaws like those greys and wrinkles, but also lends some anonymity to your profile. If you’re in an important position or are just a little shy about putting it all completely out there, a sketch is a good compromise.

It’s currently on the market only for the iOS, but if you’re an Apple fan do you really want to meet anyone besides a fellow Apple user?

If you have a touch of the romantic in you, try out Photoristic for $4.99. It’s an image app that’s powerful, but doesn’t overwhelm you with features.

It’s simple, with a number of adjustment tools such as vibrance and exposure, complete with a black-and-white mode to hide those greys and other “imperfections.” For geeks who love the simpler and finer things, it’s the ultimate app.

From virtual to reality

Of course, no matter which app or software you choose for photo editing, the real world will eventually intrude. The only genuine way to get the look and hair you want is to fade out those greys on your head, but that doesn’t mean you have to have a monochrome hairdo.

The right mix of minerals and vitamins can naturally restore your hair color, which might make any apps unnecessary. But until you get on that regimen, consider PhotoChop for a distortion look or Handy Photo for an über-easy interface.

There’s more to photo editing than Instagram and Photoshop, so start letting your creativity go wild. When love is in the air, you want to look your best.

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Google Acquires Titan Aerospace

What do Google and aerospace have in common? A lot, it turns out, now that the tech giant has officially announced that it’s buying Titan Aerospace in an effort to cover the globe with Internet connectivity, compliments of balloons and drones from the sky.

The Wall Street Journal initially reported the acquisition on Monday, April 14, but it took two days to get a confirmation. Now, the aerospace team has said it will start working with “Project Loon,” a pet Google project, in order to create high-altitude balloons that will provide low-cost Wi-Fi to rural regions.

If you haven’t heard of Titan before, the company designed drones that are solar-powered and fly above sea level. A startup based in New Mexico, Titan says the drones can “fly continuously for years” because of solar-charged batteries located in the wings.

However, the technology hasn’t been proven yet. (What about severe storms?) This isn’t the first time Titan has had tech giants sniffing around: Facebook attempted to acquire the company to get 11,000 Solara 60 drones.

No Facebook friends here

The details of how or why the Facebook acquisition fell through are vague, but what’s known is that Facebook went with a UK aircraft company, Ascenta, instead. Ascenta and Titan use similar technology, so it appears that Facebook is also attempting to build a private global Wi-Fi network.

Mark Zuckerberg wrote about his thoughts on drones in a white paper. In his opinion, they’ll be better than balloons for providing Internet to rural areas.

It looks like Google has arrived at a similar perspective, because Titan is on board to garner data that will help Google Maps as well as a number of systems in far-off places. Google is also on track to acquire a number of robotics companies to help gather airborne data, such as Boston Dynamics, the makers of DARPA’s killer robots.

Staying on top of things

The same way you wouldn’t want to miss out on re-certification for your career, Google isn’t taking any chances in building a veritable robot army. It’s rumored that the search giant might be angling to create a GATAMAM system, or Google all-terrain automated mapper, analyzer, and manipulator, which can instantly get data to support many services and simultaneously connect them around the world.

Google says, “Titan Aerospace and Google share a profound optimism about the potential for technology to improve the world. It’s why we’re so excited to welcome Titan Aerospace to the Google family.”

To the rest of us, though, this may sound more like another step toward world domination by Google.

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