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Thursday, December 01, 2016

4 Mobile Marketing Trends to Focus on in 2017 | Small Business Trends

Photo: Megan Totka

"As we begin our descent to the end of 2016, it’s vital for small businesses to look ahead to 2017 and beyond." according to Megan Totka, Chief Editor for Chamber of Commerce.

Photo: Mobile Phone - Shutterstock

Creative marketing can set your business apart from the pack, so it’s wise to stay updated on new approaches and trends.

The amount of consumers accessing the web via mobile devices now outweighs desktop users. These days, it’s not enough to just be “mobile friendly.” Here are four ways your small business should be utilizing mobile marketing in the upcoming year...

Mobile Apps
A recent Gallup poll indicates that 72 percent of Americans check their phones at least once an hour. The overwhelming majority of that time, up to 90 percent, is using apps. If your business doesn’t currently have a mobile app, now is the time!

Apps increase engagement, provides your business with customer data and increases the ways in which you are able to connect with your audience. Mobile app development can be done inexpensively and stands to benefit even the smallest companies by growing awareness of your brand.  

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Source: Small Business Trends


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Google intros App Maker for businesses | Mobile World Live

Photo: Saleha Riaz
Saleha Riaz reports"Google launched App Maker, a “low-code” tool for creating custom enterprise apps for mobile, as part of its G Suite portfolio.

Photo: Shutterstock

“Whether you’re looking for better ways to onboard new team members, staff projects, or approve employee travel requests, App Maker helps you build an app for that in days instead of months,” Google said.

For one, IT or “citizen developers” (such as analysts and system administrators) can quickly iterate from a prototype to a deployed app.

App Maker offers a cloud-based integrated development environment that features built-in templates, a drag-and-drop user interface and point-and-click data modeling.

It supports open and popular standards like HTML, CSS, Javascript and Google’s material design visual framework, so developers can make the most of existing skills and knowledge.
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Source: Mobile World Live


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Amazon, Google Race To Bring Artificial Intelligence To Apps | MediaPost Communications

Follow on Twitter as @LaurieSullivan
"In a race to widen their respective developer networks, Amazon and Google have released separate self-service tools to help inventors create apps based on machine learning that will ultimately make it easier for brands to work with the technology." inform Laurie Sullivan, writer and editor for MediaPost. 


Amazon has made three of its artificial intelligence tools available to developers within its Web Services group, marking the first time that the company has allowed outside inventors to build apps and services on its technology.

Building AI capabilities into apps requires access to large amounts of data and expertise in machine learning and neural networks. The deep and machine-learning algorithms require access to automatic speech recognition, natural-language understanding and classification to collect and train the networks to recognize phrases, speech inflections, objects, and keywords.

The group, Amazon AI, features three services: Amazon Lex, Amazon Polly, and Amazon Rekognition. Lex, the technology that powers Amazon Alexa, allows any developer to build conversational experiences for Web, mobile and connected devices. Capital One, OhioHealth, HubSpot and Twillo have used Amazon Lex to build out chatbots for their respective companies.  
The Washington Post and GoAnimate used Amazon Polly to turn text into speech, enabling their respective apps to talk with 47 lifelike voices in multiple languages.

The third tool, Rekognition -- which Redfin, and SmugMug applied to apps -- allows app users to sort through images. The application uses deep learning-based image and face recognition.

Google also has been pushing self-serve tools, trying hard to convince developers to adopt technology that allows them to create bots for Google Assistant through Actions on Google, which the company should release earlier this month. Venture Beat reported in October that a software development kit (SDK) that brings Google Assistant into device not made by Google should become available next year.
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Source: MediaPost Communications


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It's Time To Get Serious About Your Mobile Strategy | NewsFactor Network

Photo: Maribel Lopez
"Mobility has been a hot topic for some time, and it continues to be a key strategic initiative for both consumer and B2B-facing companies." notes Maribel Lopez, Principal & Founder.


Lopez Research surveyed IT leaders on their top priorities in 2016, and over two-thirds of them listed mobile-enabling the business as one of the most important. Yet, only 48% of the firms interviewed have a formal mobile strategy in place. This disconnect between crafting a mobile strategy and deploying mobile applications can dramatically decrease the effectiveness of a company’s mobile efforts.

A mobile strategy should define the architectural approach for connecting data from systems of record and engagement such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management system (CRM) and supply chain management (SCM) to mobile applications. Without this, the apps development team is simply building a pretty user interface that can’t connect to transactional systems.

Outlined below are three phases of mobile strategy that we believe will help companies reach the next stage of mobile-enabling their business. 
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Source: NewsFactor Network


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The future of front-end development is design | TechCrunch

Photo: Carson Miller
Carson Miller, head of digital at Fahrenheit 212 summarizes, "Should we make our kids learn to code?  I can’t argue against the value of every child having a working knowledge of software development."

Photo: TechCrunch

Should we make our kids learn to code? This question was posed to me at a recent dinner party. As one of the only people in our social circle who has worked in and around software development for an entire career, I get this type of question often. My immediate response was a resounding yes, and I shared a few superficial reasons why the choice was so obvious.

The conversation eventually moved on, but the question stuck with me. Maybe it was the phrase “to code,” which encapsulates such a massive spectrum. There will always be a role for engineers focused on the massive challenges required to build autonomous transportation, virtual reality and any other ambitious future technology that we will inevitably conceive, but I’m not so sure this is what my friends had in mind for their kids.

If they’re envisioning a future where their kids code web and mobile apps, I question whether I made the right recommendation. Given the significant innovation in design tools and software development infrastructure, this type of coding is going to look dramatically different in the future. In fact, the line between design and development may no longer exist, resulting in fundamental changes to the skill set and teams required to bring a product to market.

Barriers to development are decreasing rapidly 
Over the past decade, the cost to launch a software product has decreased exponentially. For example, during the original dot-com boom, the cost to launch an internet startup was hundreds of thousands of dollars, due in large part to the capital costs of servers, internet bandwidth, software licenses and office space. Since then, cloud infrastructure (like Amazon Web Services), developer tools (like GitHub), open-source frameworks (like Ruby on Rails) and bespoke back-end services (like Algolia for search) have all emerged to enable rapid digital product development at a fraction of the cost of even just 10 years ago. Today, if you have the time and the design and development skills, it is possible to build and launch a product for a few hundred dollars.
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Source: TechCrunch


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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A dose of philosophy can validate doctorates in science | The Australian

Photo: Ee Ling Ng
"The modern doctor of philosophy is generally devoid of philosophy. Perhaps you started searching the meaning of the P in PhD midway through completing it, as I did." insist Ee Ling Ng independent scientist at the Future Soils Laboratory.

‘We need a little more philosophy in science.’
Photo: Michael Perkins.

It is precisely the time when you feel the need to wax lyrical — yet you are deprived of philosophising because that is not really what your PhD is about.

According to know-it-all Wikipedia, backed up by additional commentaries from the worldwide web, the academic degree uses philosophia in its original Greek meaning, which is translated into English as “love of wisdom”. This brings more head scratching because what, after all, is the meaning of wisdom? Given that a PhD in science and technology is focused on knowledge, I prefer sophia to be translated as knowledge. This is not totally baseless: Socrates is believed to have said that the artisans were wise, in so far as they knew how to practise their art. Besides, is it not such a relief to think of the PhD as love of knowledge, which is abundant in academe, while one cannot say quite say the same with equal certainty about wisdom?

One may argue that philosophy is irrelevant romanticism and unnecessary to one’s primary subject of study. I would argue that it is necessary, perhaps even more now in our competitive world.

But it seems inappropriate to propound the virtues of philosophising without dealing with the fundamental questions of “What is philosophy?” and “What has it got to do with science?”

It would be brazen to try to explain these questions in a few lines, so instead I would recommend an excellent summary in A Brief History of Thought: A Philosophical Guide to Living by philosophy professor Luc Ferry. Failing that, you may take the words below as an abstraction of his explanation of the relevance of philosophy to science. I will also include direct pickings of wisdom from other philosophers along the way.

Science is the fruit of critical spirit and scientific method nourished at its birth by philosophy. Initially, the project of scientific mastery is about understanding the world and, if necessary, being able to exploit it, to dominate nature or society so that human can be happier and more free.

But we have now moved on from that to scientific advancement for its own sake — domination for the sake of domination.

Why? Because the nature of today’s society, governed entirely by competition, makes it an imperative to “advance or perish”.

At the core of scientific laboratories and research centres, the unceasing need to measure oneself against others, to increase productivity, to develop expertise and, above all, to apply the fruits to industry and the economy — consumption, in other words — has become the primary goal.

The modern economy functions like Darwinian selection — for instance, a business that does not “progress” is doomed to extinction but its advancement is devoid of any purpose other than to stay in the race with competitors. The conscious collective will of human beings is absent from this endeavour and, as a result, nobody knows the direction in which the world is moving.
This, to me, is the Victor Frankenstein reason why we need a little more philosophy in science.

In the research arena, it has become “publish or perish”. We can thank this system for flooding us with publications of varying quality. According to the STM Report by the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers, there were about 2.5 million articles published in 2014, and the quantity has been increasing by about 3 per cent a year.

In the process of narrowing down what to read, we are likelier to read a paper written by someone we know. This also means we are likelier to read something from someone whose views coincide with ours.

In this accidental, loopy manner of positive reinforcement of selective reading and negative reinforcement from the too many papers out there, science is a dance of one step forward and three steps back.

To make matters worse, the types of publication rewarded by academe do not coincide with what policymakers are reading, so you are compelled to draw discomfort from the knowledge that your work has no impact in the real world.


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Google’s Hand-Fed AI Now Gives Answers, Not Just Search Results | WIRED

Photo: Cade Metz
"Ask the Google search app “What is the fastest bird on Earth?,” and it will tell you." according to Cade Metz, WIRED senior staff writer covering Google, Facebook, artificial intelligence, bitcoin, data centers, computer chips, programming languages, and other ways the world is changing. 

Photo: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg/Getty Images

“Peregrine falcon,” the phone says. “According to YouTube, the peregrine falcon has a maximum recorded airspeed of 389 kilometers per hour.”

That’s the right answer, but it doesn’t come from some master database inside Google. When you ask the question, Google’s search engine pinpoints a YouTube video describing the five fastest birds on the planet and then extracts just the information you’re looking for. It doesn’t mention those other four birds. And it responds in similar fashion if you ask, say, “How many days are there in Hanukkah?” or “How long is Totem?” The search engine knows that Totem is a Cirque de Soleil show, and that it lasts two-and-a-half hours, including a thirty-minute intermission.

Google answers these questions with the help from deep neural networks, a form of artificial intelligence rapidly remaking not just Google’s search engine but the entire company and, well, the other giants of the internet, from Facebook to Microsoft. Deep neutral nets are pattern recognition systems that can learn to perform specific tasks by analyzing vast amounts of data. In this case, they’ve learned to take a long sentence or paragraph from a relevant page on the web and extract the upshot—the information you’re looking for.

These “sentence compression algorithms” just went live on the desktop incarnation of the search engine. They handle a task that’s pretty simple for humans but has traditionally been quite difficult for machines. They show how deep learning is advancing the art of natural language understanding, the ability to understand and respond to natural human speech. “You need to use neural networks—or at least that is the only way we have found to do it,” Google research product manager David Orr says of the company’s sentence compression work. “We have to use all of the most advanced technology we have.”

Not to mention a whole lot of people with advanced degrees. Google trains these neural networks using data handcrafted by a massive team of PhD linguists it calls Pygmalion. In effect, Google’s machines learn how to extract relevant answers from long strings of text by watching humans do it—over and over again. These painstaking efforts show both the power and the limitations of deep learning. To train artificially intelligent systems like this, you need lots and lots of data that’s been sifted by human intelligence. That kind of data doesn’t come easy—or cheap. And the need for it isn’t going away anytime soon.
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Source: WIRED


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Improved access to Imperial PhD theses | Imperial College London

"Imperial PhD theses from July 2007 onwards are now available on open access in the Spiral Repository." inform Janet Corcoran, one of the User Services Managers in the Library at Imperial College London.
 
Photo: Imperial College London

Library Services have been working with colleagues across the College to improve this provision - previously only theses published from 1 March 2013 onwards were available on open access.

To find an online thesis search the Spiral Repository or Library Search. Click on the link and you will be able to download the full text.

For full information about access to the complete collection of Imperial PhD theses held by the Library please visit our Theses web pages.

Source: Imperial College London


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Science and Storytelling Collide in PhD Plus Program | Duke Today

Photo: Liz Neeley
Liz Neeley, executive director of the Story Collider podcast teaches graduate students how to include storytelling in their communications.


Liz Neeley working with graduate students on storytelling
An overnight slumber party at a science museum. Participating in a piece of peer-reviewed research as a high-schooler. An enthusiastic teacher adorning the classroom wall with a memorable piece of animal anatomy.

Conducting research isn’t always a slog through daily routines. Most every scientist has had a transformational moment—either personally or professionally—that transcends measurements, field notes and experiments. Those are the moments that can transfix an audience and make science seem more vivid and tangible then they had ever imagined.

That was the message to a room full of Duke Engineering PhD students as Liz Neeley, executive director of the popular podcast Story Collider, taught them how to work narrative into their communications.

“I thought the event was very helpful in making us think of how we narrate our scientific work, especially with the suggestion of starting and ending a narrative with an action,” said Mercy Asiedu, a graduate student in biomedical engineering. “That really keeps the audience engaged from the start, instead of just going blandly into ‘my research is so and so.’ It made me more aware of what I lacked in narration and gave me really good pointers for future scientific presentations.”

If you’ve ever heard of The Moth, you have a pretty good idea of how Story Collider works. In both series, a number of people come to the stage to tell a personal story from their lives, often evoking laughter as well as deep introspection. The difference between the two is that Story Collider features narratives from scientists.

The storytelling seminar was the capstone event this semester for Duke Engineering’s PhD Plus program—a student-led initiative that conducts workshops and connects graduate students with internship and networking opportunities for those interested in careers outside of academia. This semester focused on communications, with previous workshops on improv and science communications...

Learn more about PhD Plus at phdplus.pratt.duke.edu.
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Source: Duke Today 


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Find a PhD: how to choose the right doctorate | Times Higher Education

Robert MacIntosh, head of the School of Social Sciences at Heriot-Watt University and Kevin O'Gorman professor of management and business history and director of internationalisation share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD below.

Choosing the right doctoral programme means asking a lot of questions before you embark on your studies
Photo: istock
Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success.

Take your time 
A doctorate is for life not just for Christmas, so avoid making rash commitments in the heat of the moment.

Don’t rush into it, but if you've been thinking about it for some time there is probably more to it than just the desire to be called doctor.

The idea of doing a PhD might have sneaked up on you or it might have been loitering with intent for a while.

One way or another you need to figure out how to move from "thinking about it" to "doing something about it". It’s not that difficult, but it not necessarily obvious because you'll need to understand how academics think.

Choose your quest 
Choose a topic that genuinely fascinates you. This will sustain you in the bleak mid-winter of your doctoral quest.

Your doctorate has to be like a quest. It should be about something that you really, really want to figure out. That might seem straightforward but most people without a doctorate struggle to articulate their quest in a way that would get them a doctorate. Typically, applicants paint their quests with far too broad a brush. Something like :"I want to do a doctorate in strategy" or "I want to study social inclusion" can be simultaneously true yet woefully inadequate as a starting point for a doctoral proposal.

Doctorates are awarded on the basis of contributing something new to our existing knowledge base. Given that we have been researching and producing doctorates in management for decades and in the social sciences more generally for a lot longer, such novelty usually comes in modestly-sized packages. You’ll have to do some research in order to figure out what to research.

Try before you buy 
Take multiple doctoral topics out for a first date then choose wisely. It’s a lifetime commitment.

Even if you don’t have access to a university’s library database, the wonders of GoogleScholar should allow you to dip into the literature and browse published research on the topic of your quest. Do this for four or five variants of your potential topic. Make sure to check that the academic version of your noble quest still intrigues you and that heavy research articles on the topic don’t bore you to tears.

Mind the gap 
Having chosen a broad area, identify a specific gap that is not yet fully explored in the literature.

To pass your doctorate you will need to contribute new knowledge about your chosen topic. That means you need to be able to establish what is usually referred to as "a gap in the literature" -. something that has not yet been researched. You need to be able to articulate what previous studies have shown and use this as the means of pointing toward things that are not yet known. Helpfully, academic papers often conclude with a call for further research on something or other. This might be a useful starting point.

However, you shouldn't rely on others to solve your problem. Whenever you read anything - an article, a book, a chapter or a thesis - write out your own summary of what they've told you and what you still don't know.
Read more... 

Additional resources
Finding Your PhD: How to Choose the Right Doctorate Degree by
Things to consider when choosing the appropriate doctorate degree for yourself and ensure that your time and efforts are well invested. ...

#GradSchool101 - Choosing the Right Program
 

Source: Times Higher Education, UNIVERSITY HERALD and Idealist Channel (YouTube)


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