Jay-Z has sold about 50 million records, received 17 Grammy awards, has a net worth of about $ US500 million, and still manages to produce several songs and albums every year. In honour of Jay-Z’s birthday, we decided to take a look at some of the ways he’s managed to be insanely productive over the years. More »
In a boost for Berlin, U.K.-headquartered King – one of the world’s top social games providers – has today announced it will be opening a new games studio in the German capital. The studio will open in the beginning of 2014, with the company already on the lookout for talent.
King will announce its new Berlindirector at the beginning of next year. The company already has offices in San Francisco, Barcelona, Bucharest, London, Malmö and Stockholm.
King’s CEO Riccardo Zacconi said: “Germany is the home of many exceptional games developer talents and Berlin is one of the leading creative metropolises for our industry in Europe.” Hoping to capitalise on this talent pool, the company is currently building its Berlinteam (before you jump at the opportunity, find out how King hires).
Undoubtedly, King will be competing for staff with its Berlin-based rival, Wooga – the company behind popular games Jelly Splash and Diamond Dash. King is already on the offensive, highlighting the benefits and pointing out that it was recently labeled as Sweden’s best employer in today’s media release.
King claims that it amasses over one billion plays per day globally – not hard to believe if you’ve been sucked in by the addictiveness of its best-performing game, Candy Crush. It offers games on Facebook, mobile and on its website King.com.
One of the best ways to keep your business operating successfully is by continually measuring and comparing its performanceagainst competitor averages, a concept more formally knowing as: benchmarking. Benchmarking is the process of comparing your business processes and performance metrics to competitor bests or, best practices from other industries. Dimensions typicallymeasured are quality, [...]
It used to be that an “experience” was something a person had at a 1960s outdoor music festival, not something associated with being on the Internet — and certainly not something associated with banking online. But with a plethora of options competing for consumers’ time online these days (either for entertainment or for other services), if your credit union desires an effective and vibrant virtual banking presence, you’d better be aiming to create a quality experience for your members — a quality virtual banking experience. So, what can creditunions and their vendors do together to create a best-in-classvirtualbanking experience?
First and foremost: Partner with a company who understands design. Good design is at the center of a quality user experience, and only a company with design expertise can create a best-in-class user experience for your members. You want a company that employs a user-centered design methodology, whereby every facet of the experience is created with the end user in mind. A company whose focus is on workflow optimization and ease-of-use, versus payments or core processing, will be much more adept at creating the kind of virtualbanking experience your members will appreciate.
Second, recognize the importance of your website, and treat it as an extension of the overallvirtualbanking experience. After all, it’s the first impression your members — and prospective members — will have of your credit union and its virtualbanking experience. Once again, design is crucial. Your website’s look and feel should be of the same quality as your virtualbanking offerings. The greater the consistency in fonts, color scheme, and branding, the greater the overall experience for your members and the greater the perception of your credit union. If one of your goals is to increase virtualbanking adoption, a second-rate website can be a huge impediment.
Lastly, and perhaps most difficult to pull off, provide your members with a unified user experience. What does that mean? It means providing your members with a consistent look and feel across all devices and all channels. Regardless of whether they’re banking on an iPad, a Dell laptop, a Samsung smartphone or their Mac computer, the user experience should be the exact same. This is huge, as this is what consumers have come to expect thanks to the likes of Netflix, Facebook, Apple and other premium brands. Offering your members this best-in-class level of experience will distinguish you from your competitors that lack the cohesive and quality virtualbanking experience.
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With summer right around the corner, it does not take a rocketscientist to predict that millions of Aussies will switch to weight-lossmode to look their best for the swim season. As you read this, I am probably past my 1000th sit-up trying to turn a beer belly into as many pairs of abs More Info »
In the kennel of 3D printers, I'd equate the oddly-shaped and homegrown RepRap printers to lovable mutts. The Makerbot is a golden retriever, ready to please. And the $ 1,599 Afinia H-Series is a solid, scrappy Jack Russell terrier, willing to get dirty and able to take on all comers.
The H-Series looks like it was built by the same industrial design team that built the original metal-clad Apple IIs. The device is almost entirely self-contained and there are none of the familiar cables running up and down the various arms and cams. The print head is connected via a large wire ribbon to the control board and shielded by a 3D-printed plastic screen that keeps the .15mm print head protected. The spool sits on a fairly solid hook on the side of the machine and the plastic runs through a guide into the extruder. In short, there are very few visible moving parts, which is a good thing and a bad thing.
The H-Series is a great beginners' printer and the rugged case makes it an excellent contender for a true classroom 3D printer. It looks and feels as solid as, say, an industrial educational microscope or similar lab gear and, given a choice, I'd far prefer it over a similarly outfitted but more exposed system like the many RepRap hardware. That said, the home hobbyist may be put off by the lack of visible access to the extruder and motors, two points of failure that often require maintenance. This doesn't mean you won't be able to get into the extruder and pull out broken filament, for example, but it's definitely a bit of a hindrance.
As for print quality, it was a mixed bag but erred on the side of excellent. On very simple prints everything worked swimmingly. The .15mm size produces a smooth, solid print in objects that fit within the fairly limited 5-inch square print envelope. However, bigger objects are problematic as you have to slice them a bit to get them to fit and, unlike the Makerbot, you don't have much room to print multiple objects on one plate.
In terms of torture testing the printer I came away sufficiently impressed, but if you're printing very complex objects this is probably not for you. This is my printer torture test object. It's 100 layers tall and consists of a number of very fiddly little shapes that throw off most printers. The Makerbot can barely complete this without artifacts. How did the Afinia do? The results, while not perfect, were more than acceptable given the price and the materials available. No amount of fine-tuning could force the printer to create a better version of this print.
The Torture Test model, on the other hand, printed just fine. In general the printer can produce some very solid output but it is stymied by the limitations imposed by additive printing and the problems associated with ABS filament.
Given that the H-Series is facing a number of competitors in the 3D printing space, it's important to understand how this model stacks up. It has a very small build envelope, which could be problematic, but because we're not talking about an industrial printer here this can be forgiven. It's half the price of similarly outfitted 3D printers but you are limited to ABSprinting and it only includes one extruder. However, because it's quite small it's far easier to store than other models and can sit unobtrusively on a desk where others systems hulk menacingly.
I ran into a few problems with the software, however, which should give Mac users pause. The OS X versions of the software worked intermittently and the app didn't work at all on Windows 8. It works best on Windows 7, which I ended up running in a virtual machine on my Mac just to get anything to print.
Compared to other software packages I've used the phrase “Better than nothing” comes to mind when I look at Afinia's solution. There is no interactive scaling – to scale an object you select a size multiplier (.8, 1.2, etc) and press scale. The same unintuitive system is used to move and rotate objects on the bed. However, when all you want to do is print something small it works just fine. The 3D printer software is often an afterthought and, while I wasn't impressed by its utility, I was able to use it and print with it without much trouble.
Is this the 3D printer for you? If you're an educator or home hobbyist, I think this is $ 1,500 well spent. Serious hobbyists may want to consider a printer that does PLA and ABS, however, and the build envelope is very small on this machine, thereby limiting what you can print in one piece. However it is very quiet, sturdy, and usable and I was very impressed with the build quality and utility. It's not the best 3D printer out there, but in many respects it comes very close.
AndroidKitKatwas announced only yesterday, but both carriers and manufacturers are already promising to roll it out as soon as possible. You don’t have to sit around and wait though — you can get some of KitKat’s newest and best features for the phone you already have, right now. Here’s how. More »