iPhone 5 To Upgrade Or Not To Upgrade

Hello World! Joel from Skynet Solutions here. This is my first ever blog post, so I thought I’d use the opportunity and discuss my thoughts on purchasing the newly released iPhone 5. Unless you spend most of your time in the unexplored regions of the rainforest, you already know about the release of Apple’s new iPhone 5. And just like me, there are probably a lot of iPhone fans wondering if they should go for it and upgrade now.

My current phone is an iPhone 4, which doesn’t have some of the features of the “4S” like iCloud integration or being able to ask Siri the meaning of life. But my “4” is a great product that continues to serve me well, and since I seem to be immune to hype, I didn’t upgrade when the “4S” came out.

Now, I love playing with new gadgets, but I am also very aware of the realities of new product launches. I haven’t installed iOS 6 on my current phone yet for the same reason that when buying a car (new or used), I never buy the first model year after a fresh redesign. There are ALWAYS bugs to work out of a new product. This is especially true in the world of mobile phones where the pressure to be first with the latest innovations is tremendous. So when a new iOS comes out, I always wait a while before updating.

Exhibit “A”: Steve Jobs’ replacement Tim Cook just put out an apology for the problems with the new Maps app. As you’ve probably already heard, the Google-based Maps has been replaced by a homegrown app developed by Apple. There have been complaints about numerous mapping mistakes and misinformation about locations (much like when Google began their map project a few years ago). Apple is playing catch up, so it will take time to perfect it. If they can deal with the problems, this new version provides turn-by-turn directions with big, easy-to-read onscreen graphics, it re-directs you to alternate routes based on traffic, works when the screen is locked, and supports Siri, so it should be a real asset in your car.

About the problems, Cook also surprisingly said: “While we’re improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app.” I bet that was a tough pill to swallow for a guy attempting to follow a predecessor like Steve Jobs. The new Maps app was obviously released too soon. Strike one. According to Cook, they are already working “non-stop” to fix the issues. And I’m sure they will. They can’t afford to squander their biggest asset, the loyal hoards of Apple fans.

Does this mean the iPhone 5 is no longer a consideration for me? Of course not. There have been similar iPhone problems in the past, such as dropping calls if you touch the wrong spot on an iPhone 4. Oh wait, isn’t that the phone I have now that I like so much?! In other words, this Maps problem too shall pass.

So for now, I am going to postpone the decision to buy. And in the meantime, I will look in-depth at some of the new features. But that’s a blog for another day.

Mobile Apps Development Department

Source: Skynet Solutions

By: Joel Eads


Facebook Changes

Facebook has rolled out a lot of changes over the past few months, in part because Facebook is always changing in order to stay competitive and provide the user with what Facebook thinks will be a more beneficial environment for the user. The other part is Facebook’s tragic IPO opening and plunge thereafter. A large reason for the plunge of stock prices is Facebook’s lack of revenue, or ability to propose a stable plan for generating revenue in the future. So a lot of the new changes Facebook has made are changes meant to address this issue.

To me the most annoying change Facebook has made recently is the promote post section that has been added to business and fan pages. Companies have spent a large amount of time and money obtaining fans for the purpose that if someone ‘likes’ your page, they will get updates from your company in their personal news feed. With promote post, this has changed; now only a small percentage of fans will see when you create a post on your page. If you want more of your fans to see the post, you will have to pay Facebook by promoting the post. So far, I have refused to use promote post on any pages, so I cannot speak to the overall cost of the service or its effectiveness. I am however, very frustrated by the change. On a page with nearly 3,000 fans, a post (or advertisement) will only be seen by about 800 people, so less than one third of the page’s fans find out about the post. If I want the rest of my fans to know I will have to pay.

This is also frustrating to me from a user standpoint. When I was coaxed into pushing the ‘Like’ button on a business page, I did so believing I would be able to keep up with the recent news and sales a company would have to offer. Now there is no guarantee I will see those posts or updates by companies I ‘Liked’. Unless of course that company pays to promote its advertisement, or I as a user consciously remember to go to that company’s timeline each day to see what the latest news is.

Mark Zuckerberg recently had a tech conference in San Francisco where he touted Facebook’s popularity on mobile devices. This hurts businesses who do not promote their posts to even less reachable audiences. When checking Facebook on a mobile device, it is easy to see your news feed or to update your profile, etc. Looking up other pages on Facebook is a bit more complex than just checking your own news feed. Instead of just logging in and scrolling up and down to see what the latest things are on the news feed, you will have to use a keyboard and search, then find the page you want to visit. This may not be much of a problem when you are at home on a tablet, but for people checking their phones on break or lunch at work, it really is not user-friendly.

After users have ‘Liked’ your page, they can click on an options box to add your page to their favorites list. They can also start an interest list which will enable them to add your business to the list. When fans do this, it’s more likely they will see your posts. Facebook does not promise this anywhere, but the process is similar to adding a friend to your favorites which does guarantee you will see more, if not all of that friend’s posts. The interest list is new, and I don’t expect very many fans to be familiar with the process just yet. It adds further instruction on how to keep up with a page; users will have to complete several steps to get all of a page’s posts rather than just click the ‘Like’ button.

For now, depending on your budget, it is most likely easiest and most worthwhile to just spend money and promote posts. You can set budgets and spend $5.00 or however much you want. You can also promote any post not more than a few days old. If you decide to spend the money and promote a post, make sure you use the Pin to Top option to ensure it stays at the top of your timeline.

Beyond spending money to promote posts, here are some things you can do for free to make sure your posts reach as many people as possible: First, make sure your content is interesting and engaging. The more people you can get to ‘Like’ your post or comment on it, the more viral reach you will get. Also be sure to post more often. If less than one third of fans see each post, you will need to post three times more often. Make your page fun and informative. Give users the incentive to take the extra steps and/or time to see your content on a daily basis, offer up free advice, helpful hints in your industry, or the latest news; even daily jokes or polls can help drive traffic. Also if you have a very special sale or promotion, rather than creating a post on your page, you can create an event. When you create an event, you not only get the post on your page, but you can invite whomever you want to invite.

Facebook will continue to change for as long as it exists. There is nothing any of us can do about it. Even when changes are made that are frustrating for a business or a user, the best we can do is adapt to them.

Source: Skynet Solutions

By: Ryan Williams


The 3 Keystones of a Programming Language

Computers by and large have advanced rapidly in the last decade: Smaller transistors, better fabrication capabilities, newer technologies for storing and transmitting data, and many more such advances. Though these advances are great, they are forever tied to the chief driver of innovation of them all: programming languages. Without steady advances in programming languages, the achieved technical prowess of such machines would be for naught. But what is a programming language and what are the 3 keystones of programming languages? In this article, we’ll explore the definition of a programming language, as well as the 3 keystones of programming languages. A programing language is defined as: “an artificial language designed to communicate instructions to a machine, particularly a computer. Programming languages can be used to create programs that control the behavior of a machine and/or to express algorithms precisely.” – Source: Wikipedia

Now, as succinct as that definition was, I’ll provide you with a more conventional definition: A programming language is how you tell a computer to do or perform an action. This action could be something as simple as printing the words “Hello World!” on your screen, or as complex as listing every one of your friends on a social network, how you know them, and when you added them. The core premise of a programming language is telling a computer how to do something. From their modest beginnings, computers were designed to make tasks for their human creators easier and faster. Though the tasks given to computers are often mundane and boring, that doesn’t mean the person giving the tasks must be equally so. The challenge and excitement of programming languages lies not in the number of languages known or bells and whistles (features) used, but in the innovation of how the computer is instructed to perform a task relative to the efficiency of instructions given. You certainly could write an application that uses every known programming language, but would it be as efficient as the same program written in only one language? Would it also perform the most amount of work with the fewest instructions? Probably not, but therein lies the challenge and fun of programming languages! Now that we know what a programming language is, we may begin discussing the 3 keystones of programming languages. PHP, Java, ASP.Net, Ruby, Scala, JavaScript, just to name a few but they each share these 3 keystones.

Means of expression – each one of these languages has a way to create simple things within them. Strings(Text characters.), Integers (Numbers), Variables (Things whose value can change). The list goes on and is only limited by our imaginations.

Means of combination – each of these languages has a way to combine primitive expressions to form more complex ideas. You can add a string to another string, thus making an even longer one. You could even add, multiply, divide, or subtract two integers to create a new one whose value was held in a variable.

Means of abstraction – each of these languages has a way to abstract, or make unknown the inner and sometimes minor details of itself – suppose you wanted to know the result of a simple equation. You already know to create the numbers (primitive expressions), and to perform operations on them (means of combination), but what if you needed to perform this equation multiple times with different numbers? It would be unnecessarily tedious to type and re-type the same equation over and over again, but the key lies in using abstraction.

In each of these languages, you are able to create a “function” that accepts “parameters.” The neat thing is that instead of having to type each equation, you merely pass the different numbers to the “function” as “parameters” and the programming language handles the rest! Though there are as many languages available to use as the day is long, they all adhere to these 3 keystones. Despite the naming conventions, performance, or features, if you are able to understand and take to heart these 3 keystones, you will be well equipped to accept the challenge of, and revel in the fun of any programming language. We’ve covered quite a few intensive topics in this article so for now, I’ll leave you with only this: “Stay hungry, Stay foolish”

Source: Skynet Solutions

By: Jevarlow Boykins