Category: Insights

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5 Reasons You Should Own A 3D Printer At Home

Developments in 3D printing technology are ever-changing and the possibilities of what a 3D Printer can do are endless. When you’re on the fence about buying a 3D printer, you could be wondering whether you should make the investment now or wait.

You don’t have to wonder any longer, with 3D printers being more cost-effective than ever and easy to use, you too can reap the benefits of having 3D capabilities right in your own home! Still not convinced it’s the right move for you? Here are 5 reasons why you should own a 3D printer. 

1. You Will Save Money

When you have a 3D printer at the ready you can easily print items that you would otherwise have to buy. Do you need a new case for your mobile phone? Print one. With your own printer, you can create and design items for your home that will be more personalized and to your taste than what the stores would have.

With the capability to print with many different materials and colors, you can be certain that your printed items will look great and hold up over time. They even have a glow-in-the-dark filament, so you don’t have to buy decorative stars for the ceiling or Halloween decorations because you could make your own.

Being able to print replacement parts for things you already own can extend their life. Creating 3D printed items on demand does not require any additional machinery after you have your own printer and software. Not only will you save on the cost of those items you are printing, but you also won’t have to pay for the gas or the mileage on your vehicle.  

2. It Can Be Educational 

“Learn something new every day” is a euphemism for a reason. Lifelong learning is key to a successful career and what better way to challenge yourself to learn new skills by buying a 3D printer? Using a 3D printer will quite literally add dimension to your life and can engage you in new skills that you will enjoy.

Printing can be a fun way to help your children learn as well. Hands-on learning is always appealing to children and 3D printing is a great way to make education fun and interesting. With loads of applications that are geared towards printing with children, once you own a printer you can promote the educational goals and values that are important to you.

Even if your children aren’t interested in the actual 3D printing process, though it’s a safe bet they will be, you can still use the printer to create models, puzzles and learning manipulatives that can help your child with their homework.

Allowing your child the chance to design their own item to be printed will enhance their creativity and problem solving while they are being innovative. As long as all safety precautions are followed and your child understands that printers can be heated at high temperatures, there is no reason you can’t enjoy the educational benefits of printing at home with your kids. 

3. 3D Printing Is Fun

Whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced pro you will quickly realize that 3D printing is fun. You create useable three-dimensional objects out of nothing but a printer and filament. While doctors are printing usable organs and the technology advances the practical uses are impossible to fully comprehend.

But you can’t downplay the fun that will come from just printing whatever you want to print. If you’re feeling like printing figurines to display is what gets you excited about printing that’s great. 3D printing doesn’t have to be all about what is useful and unique, if you would like it to that’s wonderful but as long as you’re enjoying your printer that is what matters.

As your confidence grows with your ability to print what you want you could find camaraderie with others who enjoy 3D printing at home. Buying yourself a 3D printer will put you in charge of what’s printed beginning to end letting you enjoy your time designing and creating whatever you think it the most enjoyable. 

4. It Can Be A Good Business

While maybe this isn’t the right option for everything, If you discover you really enjoy printing in 3D, you can turn your hobby into a business. In the same way, your printer can save you money, it could also provide a small income fulfilling other people’s needs.

Once you are proficient at printing things you could accept orders for those objects and sell them. There are websites where people place orders for things to be 3D printed and you can log in an accept the job. This could be an easy supplemental income for you if you are interested in it becoming one.

While personal 3D printers can range in cost and quality if you are hoping to make money selling the items you are printing it is best to invest in a higher-caliber printer that is capable of printing more consistently. Some low-cost printers are great for home use but can have some problems printing the same way every time which could affect the resale value of the item. 

5. You Can Express Yourself

Have you ever bought something and liked it but wished maybe it was a little bit different? 3D printing gives you the chance and technology to make those changes and create something that is specifically the way you want it.

If you have an idea for an invention that you would like to patent, it could take years to convince a manufacturer to build you a prototype but you could print your very own model for a fraction of the price and time, getting your ideas into the world faster and easier.

When you own your own printer you are limited by anyone but yourself, so if you dream up the perfect mask, you can print it. Your self-expression is only limited by what you can design–so it’s limitless. There’s no reason to wait for something you want to be created by someone else when you can do it yourself. 

Conclusion

While 3D printing has its own learning curve there is no better way to get ahead than by having your own printer at home to practice and reap the benefits from. Why would you spend money to buy 3D printed things from others when you could create the same thing and inspire your children at the same time?

With so many different kinds of printers to choose from it may seem overwhelming but with a little research you will find the right printer for your home and you will begin to see the miracle of objects being created right in front of you. The novelty of being able to create something out of thin air will never grow old, having a 3D printer of your own is a fantastic investment in you! 

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Why You Should Consider Using an Influencer to Boost Your SEO Results

You’ve followed all the SEO advice out there. Your traffic is ticking along, but it’s not nearly as much as you’d like. What we’re going to suggest next flies in the face of your standard SEO advice. SEO gurus will tell you that social media links don’t count.

That’s true – they don’t. But here’s the thing, you don’t go on to social media to get long-term traffic for your site. You go there to get more exposure, build brand awareness, and drive sales. Now, pair those goals up with the right influencer, and you have a recipe for success.

Why Consider Influencer Marketing?

It’s simple – traditional advertising is getting easier to block. In 2018, 47% of consumers used ad blocking technology. That means that your traditional PPC, or website ads stand a good chance of being blocked.

You can longer sit back and hope that your prospects will stumble on your advertising. They might never find it. Instead, you’ll need to look for ways to reach them where they hang out online. And social media is a great way to do that.

Why? Influencer marketing, when conducted correctly is highly effective. According to NeoReach, companies using influencer marketing in 2018 saw a return of 520% on their investment. This was based on a survey of 2,000 different businesses.

49% of consumers today rely on recommendations from influencers when purchasing a product. If teenagers are your target market, working with influencers is a good way to go – 60% of teens trust an influencer’s recommendation more than that of any other kind of celeb.

Getting Influencer Marketing Right

Before you head off to find an influencer to market your business, take a step back. Influencer campaigns can be highly effective, mediocre, or complete failures. In the latter instance, it’s normally due to a lack of research by the company.

It’s about more than just straight numbers, so don’t head for the biggest influencer you can find. Engagement drops as an influencer’s following grow. This makes sense – it’s a lot simpler to maintain a relationship with followers when there are fewer of them.

That means that you need to look at more than just the number of followers an influencer has. You should also consider how active the followers are on the channel. An influencer with 10,000 engaged followers could give you better value for your money than one with substantially more, thanks to engagement.

Influencers should be chosen very carefully. You’ll need to find an influencer that fits your brand as perfectly as possible. Do they have the same brand values as your company? Does their personal style fit with your brand image? Does their content go with your product?

Choose an influencer the same way you would a business partner. This is not something to rush into.

Final Notes

When it comes to boosting your SEO stats, influencer marketing can help you drum up some serious traffic. Influencers speak to your audience. They have a relationship with your target market. Take advantage of that, and you’ll see a spike in sales and traffic.

DevelopmentInsightsSEO

How to Integrate Spring Boot with Thymeleaf: A Step-by-Step Guide

Spring framework is one of the leading frameworks in the JAVA world and developers across the globe utilize it for developing reliable and high-quality Enterprise-level applications. Of late, developers have also started using the alternative form of Spring framework popularly termed as Spring Boot. 

This blog post will take you through a series of steps each designed in a way to help you understand how to integrate Spring Boot with Thymeleaf. However, before we begin, we do need to understand a little about Spring Boot and Thymeleaf too.

What is the Spring Boot Framework?

The Spring Boot framework came into existence to resolve bootstrapping issues and design new applications. It provides a default set of codes and configuration steps which makes it easier for the developers to integrate it into their applications. 

The framework operates on the “Opinionated Defaults Configuration” approach and boasts three major aspects of any application development process:

  • Development
  • Unit Testing 
  • Integration Testing

What is Thymeleaf?

Thymeleaf is a simple Java-based template which allows you to create both web and standalone applications. By default, Thymeleaf comes with 6 templates namely: 

  • XML 
  • Valid XML
  • XHTML
  • Valid XHTML
  • HTML5
  • Legacy HTML5

Additionally, developers also consider Thymeleaf ideal for HTML5 JVM web development because it gives them the flexibility to customize the code based on their project requirements and because it supports a good range of Spring frameworks and additional tools.

Integrating Spring Boot with Thymeleaf – A Step Guide

With the basics in place, it is time to begin with our next segment which details the actual integration process in a step-wise manner. You can integrate both in multiple ways, however, for the sake of convenience, we will walk you through a manual JAVA configuration to set up Thymeleaf with Spring Boot.

Checking Pre-requisite Tools and Software 

Your system must have the following tools and software installed before you start with the integration process: 

  1. JAVA 8 
  2. Spring Boot 
  3. Thymeleaf v3.0
  4. Maven v3.3
  5. Eclipse

Project Structure

Once you have executed all the steps carefully, your basic project structure should look something like the following:

pom.xml

src

───main

│   ───java

│   │ └───com

│   │     └───zetcode

│   │         │ Application.java

│   │         └───config

│   │                 WebConfig.java

│   └───resources

│       └───my templates

│               index.html

└───test

    └───java

Note: Thymeleaf stores all its template files in the following custom directory: src/main/resources/mytemplates while its default template directory is: src/main/resources/templates.

Working Out the Basic Installation

Spring Boot uses JAVA SDK v1.8 or higher by default to run smoothly. To check which version of JAVA is installed on your system, you need to run the following code on your DOS prompt: 

$ java –version

java version “1.8.0_102”

Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.8.0_102-b14)

Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM (build 25.102-b14, mixed mode)

  • If you see a similar output on your DOS prompt you do have JAVA installed. In case, nothing appears, proceed to the given link to install JDK and set up the PATH Environment variable on your system.
  • As Eclipse is also a mandate, you need to download the latest build and install Eclipse on your system based on your operating system. Once it’s done, execute the Eclipse.exe file.
  • Next, you can install Maven in two ways: 
  1. Within the Eclipse IDE: The steps are as follows: 
    1. Open your Eclipse IDE and click HELP >> Install New Software 
    2. Click on the ADD button to add a new repository 
    3. In the popup box, fill out the: 
      1. Name: M2Eclipse 
      2. Location: http://download.eclipse.org/technology/m2e/releases
    4. Once done, select all the plugins and click on NEXT 
    5. Accept the terms and conditions of the agreement and click Finish
    6. Once the process is complete, you will be asked to restart Eclipse IDE. Click on YES to restart the IDE.
  2. Installing Maven using the PATH variable: In this process, you need to add the bin folder with the mvn command to the PATH variable. Follow the installation guide here: Installing Maven through PATH

Next, run the following command to check for Maven installation:

$ mvn –v

Apache Maven 3.5.4 (1edded0938998edf8bf061f1ceb3cfdeccf443fe; 2018-06-17T14:33:14-04:00)

Maven home: /usr/local/Cellar/maven/3.3.9/libexec

Java version: 1.8.0_102, vendor: Oracle Corporation

Once both Eclipse and Maven are installed, move onto the next section and check for the dependencies required to integrate Thymeleaf with Spring Boot.

Integrating Thymeleaf with Spring Boot – The Actual Process

  • To integrate Thymeleaf with Spring Boot, we first need to execute the following Maven dependency:
<dependency>

    <groupId>org.springframework.boot</groupId>

    <artifactId>spring-boot-starter-thymeleaf</artifactId>

</dependency> 

  • Since, we are using Thymeleaf v3.0 in this guide, we also need to configure the following two properties in the “pom.xml” file: 
  1. thymeleaf.version
  2. thymeleaf-layout-dialect.version
<properties>

       <thymeleaf.version>3.0.6.RELEASE</thymeleaf.version>

       <thymeleaf-layout-dialect.version>2.2.2</thymeleaf-layout-dialect.version>

<java.version>1.8</java.version>        

</properties> 

  • In this step, we would create our “pom.xml” file. To create, open any text editor of your choice like say “Notepad++” and add the following code to it. Once done, save the file under the name “pom.xml” which you can later use to build up your project. 
<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>

<project xmlns=”http://maven.apache.org/POM/4.0.0″

            xmlns:xsi=”http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance”

            xsi:schemaLocation=”http://maven.apache.org/POM/4.0.0

            http://maven.apache.org/xsd/maven-4.0.0.xsd”>

    <modelVersion>4.0.0</modelVersion>

    <groupId>com.zetcode</groupId>

    <artifactId>thymeleafconfigex</artifactId>

    <version>1.0-SNAPSHOT</version>

    <packaging>jar</packaging>

    <properties>

        <project.build.sourceEncoding>UTF-8</project.build.sourceEncoding>

        <maven.compiler.source>11</maven.compiler.source>

        <maven.compiler.target>11</maven.compiler.target>

    </properties>

    <parent>

        <groupId>org.springframework.boot</groupId>

        <artifactId>spring-boot-starter-parent</artifactId>

        <version>2.1.0.RELEASE</version>

    </parent>

    <dependencies>

        <dependency>

            <groupId>org.springframework.boot</groupId>

            <artifactId>spring-boot-devtools</artifactId>

            <optional>true</optional>

        </dependency>

        <dependency>

            <groupId>org.springframework.boot</groupId>

            <artifactId>spring-boot-starter-web</artifactId>

            <optional>true</optional>

        </dependency>

        <dependency>

            <groupId>org.springframework.boot</groupId>

            <artifactId>spring-boot-starter-thymeleaf</artifactId>

        </dependency>

    </dependencies>

    <build>

        <plugins>

            <plugin>

                <groupId>org.springframework.boot</groupId>

                <artifactId>spring-boot-maven-plugin</artifactId>

            </plugin>

        </plugins>

    </build>

</project>

  • Once you have created the “pom.xml” file, you need to configure Thymeleaf using the “WebConfig.java” file and set up a ‘view’ and ‘controller’ for the homepage. 

Use the following programming code to achieve the stated task: 

package com.zetcode.config;

import org.springframework.context.annotation.Bean;

import org.springframework.context.annotation.Configuration;

import org.springframework.context.annotation.Description;

import org.springframework.web.servlet.ViewResolver;

import org.springframework.web.servlet.config.annotation.ViewControllerRegistry;

import org.springframework.web.servlet.config.annotation.WebMvcConfigurer;

import org.thymeleaf.spring5.SpringTemplateEngine;

import org.thymeleaf.spring5.view.ThymeleafViewResolver;

import org.thymeleaf.templateresolver.ClassLoaderTemplateResolver;

@Configuration

public class WebConfig implements WebMvcConfigurer {

    @Bean

    @Description(“Thymeleaf template resolver serving HTML 5”)

    public ClassLoaderTemplateResolver templateResolver() {

        var templateResolver = new ClassLoaderTemplateResolver();

        templateResolver.setPrefix(“mytemplates/”);

        templateResolver.setCacheable(false);

        templateResolver.setSuffix(“.html”);

        templateResolver.setTemplateMode(“HTML5”);

        templateResolver.setCharacterEncoding(“UTF-8”);

        return templateResolver;

    }

    @Bean

    @Description(“Thymeleaf template engine with Spring integration”)

    public SpringTemplateEngine templateEngine() {

        var templateEngine = new SpringTemplateEngine();

        templateEngine.setTemplateResolver(templateResolver());

        return templateEngine;

    }

    @Bean

    @Description(“Thymeleaf view resolver”)

    public ViewResolver viewResolver() {

        var viewResolver = new ThymeleafViewResolver();

        viewResolver.setTemplateEngine(templateEngine());

        viewResolver.setCharacterEncoding(“UTF-8”);

        return viewResolver;

    }

    @Override

    public void addViewControllers(ViewControllerRegistry registry) {

        registry.addViewController(“/”).setViewName(“index”);

    }

}

  • We also need to define a dedicated template resolver which would help us resolve various templates into different “TemplateResolution” objects.

You can call up the templates located on your CLASSPATH using “ClassLoaderTemplateResolver” method.

@Bean

@Description(“Thymeleaf template resolver serving HTML 5”)

public ClassLoaderTemplateResolver templateResolver() {

Note: To serve HTML5 content, you can execute the following code:

 

templateResolver.setTemplateMode(“HTML5”);
  • The following code will help you create a Thymeleaf template engine with Spring integration:
@Bean

@Description(“Thymeleaf template engine with Spring integration”)

public SpringTemplateEngine templateEngine() {

    

    var templateEngine = new SpringTemplateEngine();

    templateEngine.setTemplateResolver(templateResolver());

    return templateEngine;

}

  • In case you need to display the current date, change the “resources/templates/index.html” file with the following code:
<!DOCTYPE html>

<html xmlns:th=”http://www.thymeleaf.org”>

    <head>

        <title>Home page</title>

        <meta charset=”UTF-8″/>

        <meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0″/>

    </head>

    <body>

        <p>

        <span th:text=”‘Today is: ‘ + ${#dates.format(#dates.createNow(), ‘dd MMM yyyy HH:mm’)}” th:remove=”tag”></span>

        </p>

    </body>

</html>

  • To set up the Spring Boot application for execution, you need to edit the “com/zetcode/Application.java” file with the following code:
package com.zetcode;

import org.springframework.boot.SpringApplication;

import org.springframework.boot.autoconfigure.SpringBootApplication;

@SpringBootApplication

public class Application {

    public static void main(String[] args) {

        SpringApplication.run(Application.class, args);

    }

}

Executing the Code

With all the files edited successfully, execute your application using the following code:

$ mvn spring-boot:run

 Once executed your output should look similar to the following: 

 

$ curl localhost:8080

<!DOCTYPE html>

<html>

<head>

    <title>Home page</title>

    <meta charset=”UTF-8″>

    <meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0″>

</head>

<body>

<p>

    Today is: 08 Sep 2019 02:01

</p>

</body>

If you do see a similar output, that means you have successfully integrated Spring Boot into Thymeleaf.

Note: You can exit the application using the following key combination: CTRL + C

We hope you will find this step-by-guide to Spring Boot integration with Thymeleaf helpful. Do comment below and let us know how it turned out for you!

About Author: Johnny Morgan Technical writer with a keen interest in new technology and innovation areas. He focuses on web architecture, web technologies, Java/J2EE, open-source, WebRTC, big data and CRM. He is also associated with Aegis Infoways which offers Java Programmers India .

References

  1. https://www.journaldev.com/7969/spring-boot-tutorial
  2. https://spring.io/guides/gs/spring-boot/
  3. https://www.tutorialspoint.com/spring_boot/spring_boot_thymeleaf.htm
  4. https://www.thymeleaf.org/documentation.html
  5. http://zetcode.com/articles/springbootthymeleafconf/
  6. https://docs.oracle.com/javase/9/install/installation-jdk-and-jre-microsoft-windows-platforms.htm#JSJIG-GUID-2B9D2A17-176B-4BC8-AE2D-FD884161C958
  7. https://www.eclipse.org/downloads/
  8. https://www.ntu.edu.sg/home/ehchua/programming/howto/EclipseJava_HowTo.html
  9. https://maven.apache.org/install.html
  10. https://www.concretepage.com/spring-boot/spring-boot-thymeleaf-maven-example#complete
  11. https://docs.spring.io/spring-boot/docs/current/reference/htmlsingle/
  12. https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-open-command-prompt-2618089
  13. http://roufid.com/how-to-install-maven-on-eclipse-ide/
Insights

Psychology Tricks That Will Help You Improve Your Online Shop

Every shop owner knows just how important it is to appeal to her or his customers. When you’re setting up an online shop, your website plays an essential role in the process of determining whether your product, brand, or services are suitable for the visitors that scroll through your online store.

Understing what drives your potential buyers is one of the most crucial aspects of running any business that aims at being successful. That’s why you need to use every trick in the book to maximize your profit and ROI (return on investment). There are arguably only a few better ways to accomplish this than by using psychology.

A huge part of the discipline is connected to trying to better understand our behaviors, desires, needs, ideas, cognitive functions, the way we perceive the world and how we react to it, as well as how we interact with one another. That’s why this field of human practice can be proven to be so effective in business-related things. And that’s exactly why, in this article, we’re going to talk about some psychology tricks that you can use and implement to improve your online shop.

Get the Most Out of ’Priming’ – Use the Power of Associations to Your Advantage

Priming is a technical term used to describe a memory effect where one stimulus triggers another, through the process of making associations. The fact that we constantly use associations to better understand what happens around us can be a deciding factor in what a person will buy, for example.

One study, in particular, showed that there’s a big difference in which wine the consumers were choosing to buy, depending on the type of music that played in the background. When the store owners were playing French-sounding music, there was an increase in sales of French wines. On another occasion, the store owners were playing German-sounding music and they sold more German wines as a consequence.

There are many more examples similar to this, but all of them show you that anything you put on your website will hugely impact how the visitors perceive your brand. The fact that you can influence their decisions like this shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Steer the Visitors Into Making the Right Choice

Because you have this power to influence your visitors’ opinions about your brand, product, or services, you need to make sure to use the most of it. With the right graphic design solutions, like those that Orion Creative provides, for instance, you can point your visitors into any direction you like. For example, if you want them to opt for a certain product, you should direct them towards your priority choice.

One way to effectively accomplish this is by giving them multiple choices. Let’s say you have a product 1, 2, and 3, and you want them to buy the product number 2. You make a design that accentuates the merits of product number 2. Product numbers 1 and 3 are there only to emphasize these benefits of product number 2. You should note that this should be done rather discretely since you don’t want your customers to realize that you’re steering them in a certain direction.

Establish a Connection With the Potential Consumers

Another great way to further engage your potential clients is to establish a strong connection, the one that’s long-lasting preferably. You want the consumers to come back time and time again and shop at your online store. The best way to accomplish this is by having a good brand or product, naturally. But in many cases, this is not enough. That’s why you have to consider these effective psychological tricks.

For instance, one way to engage your consumers better and make this connection with them is by addressing them in an effective tone of voice. You need to know what your target audience is first, to make this work. You’re not going to talk the same way to all age groups and genders. Your potential buyers should have a feeling like you’re talking directly to them. No one likes to read automated messages or sentences – you need to realize that you’re addressing living beings, not robots.

Use Different Perspectives to Attract and Target Different Audiences

While we’re on the subject, we also want to talk about using different perspectives to attract and target different audiences. The fact that you’re talking to the living, human beings also means that you need to pay attention to the way you’re addressing these people. We’ve already indicated that you’re probably not going to talk the same way to someone who’s 7 or 77.

This is why you want to make sure you’re using a different perspective to talk to these persons. You should always keep in mind this fact and adjust the lingo accordingly. If you want to appeal to teenagers, for example, you probably don’t want to sound too rigid or uptight. And if your website aims at addressing a certain scientific community, for instance, you definitely don’t want to sound too informal and laid-back.

In Summary

Psychology is a field of human practice that has developed many powerful tools. Some of them can be used effectively in business-related things. In this article, we’ve tried to show you some psychology tricks that can help you improve your online shop. These include getting most out of priming, steering the visitors into making the right choice, establishing a connection with your consumers, and using different perspectives to attract and target different audiences. It goes without saying that all these techniques are useful only if you develop a strong visual identity for your online store or a brand.

DevelopmentInsightsProducts

How A Central Repository Helps In Test Case Management

Selecting a test case management tool is key to project success. It can make or break the product. These tools usually handle the complete software development life cycle of an application. Businesses gain efficiency in their testing procedures by using these software testing tools.

The tools consolidate information for projects, speed up communication between teammates and foster overall collaboration. Test case management tools make testing processes more efficient and increase the testing scope. A typical test case management tool records test requirements, aids the test design process, maps test cases with requirements and generate test case execution reports.

Test case management is greatly facilitated by a tool that offers a central repository. A separate repository for each test plan is a poor setup, bound to waste both time and resources. A central repository helps to identify the testing scope, removing the redundancy of testing and improving tracking. A test repository is a tester’s best friend.

Today we look at some of the benefits of having a central repository in a test case management tool:

Saves Time

Often, when new software features are introduced, old tests are rerun. Many tests are repeated. Many projects with overlapping test cases could be managed on a common platform. Having a central repository gives faster access to these tests. Accessing separate repositories for running tests is more time-consuming. A single repository will clearly show which tests have been conducted before. There will be no need for testers to juggle through information on multiple platforms. Further, tests are automated without manual intervention, saving time.

Higher Productivity

A single repository keeps testers more mindful of the tests. Duplicate test cases are not created. Testers do not have to rewrite tests. Once written and stored, the repository allows easy access for use in the future. This saved time is used towards creating and executing new test cases, increasing testers’ productivity.  

Faster Speed

Every test case is tagged in a repository. These tags include function, sub-function, channel, device and so on. These tags help in filtering through thousands of test cases, boosting the speed of searches. Tests can be quickly picked and used.

Better Defect Management

A central repository will log a history of defects related to testing cases, enabling quicker defect tracking and management. Defect severity and priority are known. Duplicate defects are identified and removed. Better defect management is very useful in large projects as resources can be allocated to other more tasks that require urgent attention if defect management is taken care of. Defect management is the key to product quality.

Better Organization

One of the most important tasks of a well-organized testing system is the ability to retrieve useful information. This means getting rid of undesirable documents periodically. Obsolete test cases should not be retained. A central repository helps in removing unwanted data as it is all collected in one place. If filed separately, removing data can take time and create clutter.

These are a few benefits of a central repository in a test case management tool that can guide businesses to choose tools that offer this feature. After all, a central repository is a one-stop for meeting all project needs. An attractive central repository with all the necessary items for facilitating testers and project stakeholders is a winner for test management.

Author Bio

Ray Parker is a senior marketing consultant with a knack for writing about the latest news in tech, quality assurance, software development, and testing. With a decade of experience working in the tech industry, Ray now dabbles out of his New York office.

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Why a Data-Driven Construction Process is the Only Way Forward

Being data-driven means building abilities, tools and a culture that acts on data. With the emergence of big data seeping in the construction industry, construction companies are adapting and innovating construction technology tools to process large quantities of construction data and extracting their value to their advantage. As more construction technology suppliers continue to study construction data and how to utilize them, it has become apparent that data-drivenness not only advances individual construction companies, it is vital for maturing the entire global construction industry. 

How do we create a data-driven construction company?

According to Carl Anderson in his book, Creating a Data-Driven Organisation, for a company to become data-driven, it has to have the following company qualities:

1. It must collect data.

For a construction company to be data-driven, it has to collect the right data. The collected data set must be relevant, timely, accurate, clean, unbiased and reliable. Data alone is not enough, quality data is what’s valuable.

2. It can access and query its data.

Other than being accurate, timely, and relevant, data must also be:

  • Joinable. The data must be in a form that can be joined to other enterprise data, when necessary. 
  • Shareable. For data to be joined, they must be shareable within a data-sharing company culture.
  • Queryable. There must be proper tools to query the data. Data reporting and analysis require grouping, filtering, and aggregating of data to prune large raw data into smaller sets of quality numbers and to compute metrics easily. 

3. It has the right people with the right skills to use its data. 

For a construction company to be data-driven, it has to have the right people to ask the correct questions of the data with the skills to extract the right data and metrics and to use that data for future steps. The right people should be able to utilise the data for:

  • Reporting. Reporting is basically extracting data and generating a report from it.
  • Alerting. Alerts are basically reports of what is currently happening. They provide specific data with well-designed metrics.
  • Analysis. The analysis is the investigation of data assets into usable insights that will help in decision making and drive actions using people, processes, and technologies. 

The hallmarks of data-drivenness

A data-driven construction company does at least one of the following three things that prioritize high-quality data and skilled analysis for future-proofed decision making, according to Anderson:

  1. A data-driven company performs continuous tests for process improvement. 
  2. A data-driven company has a continuous improvement mindset.
  3. A data-driven company is involved in predictive actions.

Data-driven processes demand transformation

Other than promoting an evidence-based culture, being data-driven makes construction processes and operations more precise, predictable and efficient. From greater demands in quality construction execution to building end-user comfort, data-driven efficiency demands for transformation in a lot of construction aspects.

Construction technologies and big data

The development and use of digital technologies and processes are essential in the required transformation of construction as an industry. Digitalization creates new functionalities along the entire value chain from the early phases of design to the final handover, up until the operational maintenance of a building project. The use of big data and analytics generate quality insights from the data gathered during the construction and the operations phase. Simulations and virtual reality identify clashes (clash detection) during the design stages. Using mobile connectivity allows real-time communication within companies and provide their construction teams with vital on-site information. 

A single platform for construction management

No two projects are identical but useful concepts and processes from one project can prove helpful when applied to another. The ideal goal is for companies to standardize these “lessons” for construction management to go through continuous improvement across projects. To facilitate the implementation of such standardization, using a company-wide software tool is ideal while taking note of the following steps. 

  1. Collect and consolidate construction project management data. Ideally, a monitoring system with a robust reporting tool should be in place to enable the continuous collection of project data.
  2. Standardize best practices. Evaluate individual projects and develop a list of best practice processes that can be used in a variety of different projects.
  3. Apply best-practice standards at the project level. Make your best practices mandatory and apply at the project level. 

Better management of subcontractors and suppliers

Poor coordination of purchasing materials and components delay projects and can create serious scheduling and costing problems. Hence, it is critical to integrate suppliers and subcontractors more effectively. Adopting construction technologies and related tools can help integrate the supply chain more closely and establish an agile and transparent supply chain throughout the entire project. These digital tools can improve service and reduce costs by providing end-to-end visibility and solution to the supply chain. 

BIM

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is gaining importance as a platform for central integrated design, modeling, planning, and collaboration. BIM provides all stakeholders with a digital representation of a building’s characteristics throughout its life cycle and provides several important opportunities. It facilitates a collaborative way of working among all stakeholders, from early design until operations and maintenance. By doing so, it promises great efficiency gains. 

Lean construction methods and management

A lean approach reduces complexity and uncertainty by reducing waste and non-value-adding activities throughout the entire value chain: it reduces, for instance, schedule deviations, waiting, stocks of building materials, transportation, rework and unused or underutilized resources. In that way, it makes processes more stable, predictable and efficient. That’s according to Lean Station. Other than improvements in cost and delivery, lean processes also better quality and safety with new digital construction tools that can help greatly in performing crucial safety processes and inspections.

Meticulous project monitoring

Project monitoring, especially on site, needs to be more real-time, forward-looking and future-proofed. It is also imperative for it to provide actionable data that can bring projects back on track. 

Smart buildings

With more technological advances being incorporated in modern buildings and construction, the cost of sensors, data storage, and computing services have gone down. With the prices getting more affordable, the general consumers and the government have been demanding greater energy efficiency in buildings and improved safety and convenience through connected devices and the Internet of Things (IoT). These improved and automated lighting and temperature controls and remote servicing also benefit the building owners and building end-users: reduced operating costs, reduced energy usage, greater comfort, and increased operational efficiency.

Construction software and apps play an important role in the implementation of the mentioned demands and needed transformations. They can also play a role in the crucial process of capturing as-built data from projects versus “as-designed”, which contains the original design drawings. The current construction industry transformation will rely increasingly on construction management software tools and BIM: they are capable of coordinating all stakeholders of a project and can facilitate on-site construction processes. The key is rethinking the approach to these construction processes and operations, that they can be receptive to these digital tools.

The Way Forward

The construction industry has been slow in adopting new technologies and is only embarking on a journey of the modern transformation. According to the World Economic Forum, this new era in construction will bring benefits for the wider society, the environment, and the economy by 

  1. reducing construction costs and adverse social effects
  2. improving the efficient use of scarce materials and reducing adverse environmental impact of buildings over time
  3. narrowing the global infrastructure gap and boosting economic development in general. 

This promise will unfold very soon, and very remarkably. Sweeping changes are taking place, however not yet on a wide scale. A lot of things are to be done. 

To move the industry forward, all stakeholders along the construction value chain should take action. The industry in its entirety should improve coordination and cooperation and agree on standards and common industry goals. Many of the challenges are common across the sector, but the industry remains variegated and fragmented. Construction companies have to choose their own paths of innovations and actions that suit their own visions and their clients’ needs to secure their individual futures and ensure an inspiring future for the entire industry.

About the author

Anastasios Koutsogiannis is Content Marketing Manager at LetsBuild.

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Top Perks of LED Lighting for Our Environment 

Keeping our environment safe is everyone’s responsibility. You already know of eco-friendly products such as solar panels and recycling processes to keep our ecology safe for the years to come. These initiatives help in reducing the waste that’s produced every day and minimizing the carbon footprint. Most offices today have gone green with a paperless environment. Then, many people are still unaware of new technologies and products. An ideal example is LED lighting in homes and streets.

According to an article published on https://www.huffpost.com, LED lights are an essential climate change solutions, minimizing air pollution. Read on to learn about the top benefits of LED lights to our environment.

No deadly substances

LED lights have no toxic or poisonous elements. Many commercial establishments use fluorescent strip lights containing toxic chemicals like mercury. Mercury pollutes our environment when the same is thrown in landfills as waste. 

Therefore, it is imperative to ditch fluorescent lights and embrace LEDs for a cleaner, safer environment. Even if you have lights with noxious elements, they should be disposed of through proper waste carriers. LED lights are also cost-effective and protect our ecology from air pollution. Install LED lights in your home and office and do your part to keep the environment clean. 

Save energy

Did you know that LED lights are up to 80 percent more energy-efficient than conventional bulbs and tubes? Most of the energy, 95 percent of it in LEDs are transformed into light and just five percent into heat. Fluorescent lights, on the contrary, change 95 percent of electrical energy into heat and only five percent into the light. You can read more about LEDs on websites like http://www.ph-el.dk or similar ones.

LED lights also absorb less energy than traditional lighting systems. Did you know that a 36-watt LED could emit the same amount of light and take the place of a standard fluorescent light? Less energy consumption means less demand from power plants, thus cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions into our environment leading to global warming and climate change.

More light distribution

Led lights have much better light distribution capacity and focus the light in a single direction. Conventional lights waste electrical energy by emitting light to all directions, even illumining areas or parts of a room where light is not required, like the room ceiling. 

LEDs have the same brightness levels provided by incandescent and fluorescent lights without inflating your power bills. Fewer lights in homes and streets will minimize electrical energy consumption and benefit the environment as a whole. 

Durability

LEDs last longer than traditional lights and therefore means reduced carbon emissions. Your LED lights last up to six times more than standard lighting systems. Therefore, you do not need to replace them often compared to traditional lighting. All this means the use of fewer lights and fewer resources required for the production process, packaging, and transportation of lights. It is not only beneficial for our environment but also saves much of your money.

Conclusion

Now that you know about the benefits of LED lights, install these and remove the standard lights. You will save money and contribute to a green environment.

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Toronto: Drone Filming Tips for the Best Videos Ever

Drone Filming has started to become popular and most of the experienced, as well as beginner filmmakers, are using drone shots in the films. As a professional, it is not difficult to understand the kinds of shots that will help in performing the best. However, as a beginner, it is crucial to have certain tips in your mind so that you can get killer shots while drone filming. You need to consider the tips that have been mentioned above so that you can help your footage become unique and stand out. 

Combine the different movements of the Axis

Your footage is not going to stand out if your drone is only moving forward and backward. It is your responsibility to add depth to the footage and to do so you must try different combinations of the axis movements. For example, you can fly up as well as backward and fly sideways when you are flying forward and up. Ensure that you are being gentle on the control sticks because steady and slow movements can help in making the footage cinematic. If you are not well versed with operating your drone, you can use the Tapfly method. This method will help you to fly your drone steadily and allow you to achieve complex flights easily. 

Orbit

Circling any particular object is responsible for adding a huge and great cinematic impact to the entire footage. You have the option of navigating circles manually by taking care of the target while flying sideways as well as moving in the opposite directions. You have to understand that circling any particular object is going to take the training. You can use the point of interest in intelligent flight mode. This mode will help you to circle any object smoothly, and you have to adjust the radius and height. This is one of the most important and crucial tips that you need to follow if you are interested in drone filming. 

Fly your drone at low altitude

Most people are responsible for assuming that drone filming is mostly associated with gaining height. Flying at a high altitude can indeed help in accommodating more shooting space; however, flying your drone at a low altitude can help in showing detailed objects and can also create immersive experiences. Apart from that, when you are speeding up, you have the freedom of conveying intense feelings through the footage. Ensure that you are paying attention to your flight environment, especially any kind of obstacle so that you can ensure the safety of flight. 

Follow the subject from various angles

According to www.store.dji.com, following a particular subject right from behind is one of the classic filming moves. However, it is not difficult to film your subject from various angles with the help of your drone and it is suggested that you try them. This is going to help in making your footage creative as well as intriguing and interesting.

Conclusion

Drone filming is extremely exciting. Ensure that you are keeping these maneuvers and techniques on your mind so that it becomes easy for you to get the best shots.

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5 Startups in the Cannabis Industry That Will Inspire You to Start Your Own Business

If you are thinking of starting a business in the cannabis industry, you are definitely on the right track when it comes to profit. With the right idea and a good team, you will be able to thrive and advance with almost unstoppable speed. 

The cannabis industry is now legal across different countries, making it one of the fastest-growing in the world. This is the main reason why a lot of people decide to invest their money in it. Not to mention the fact that it was worth $13.8 billion in 2018.

The cannabis industry is made out of four different branches – medical, recreational, industrial, and CBD oil. Depending on your ideas, you can choose any of them for your business. 

That being said, the most profitable one (and fastest-growing) at the moment is medical cannabis – worth $5.1 billion! Recreational cannabis is close second and is worth $3.2 billion. Those are indeed some inspiring numbers.

So if you are looking for business inspiration, you are in the right place! In this article, we will take a look at some of the most popular startups in the cannabis industry. The secret to their success is unique ideas and of course, a good business plan. This will give you an idea of what is already out there and how it functions.

LeafLink

LeafLink is an online marketplace for wholesale cannabis. This service helps retailers with the management aspects of all cannabis businesses, providing products like CRM, streamlined ordering, reporting tools, and shipment queues.

MassRoots

If you want to connect with other cannabis enthusiasts, then MassRoots is a platform designed just for you! You can use it for searching nearby dispensaries, write and get reviews, and post your own photos.

Eaze

According to recent reports, Amazon is the most popular online retailer in the world. Eaze is known as the Amazon for medical cannabis and is rapidly expanding. It is connected with a lot of dispensaries, offering a variety of products and delivering them to your homes.

Surterra Holdings

Surterra Holdings is most known as a cannabis-based therapy company. It manufactures and distributes medical cannabis products, such as vape pens, oils, transdermal patches, tinctures, sprays, and lotions.

Vangst

Last but not least is the recruitment platform that helps connect people who are looking for a career in the cannabis industry. The service managed to find jobs for thousands of people so far and help them earn money by doing what they are inspired to do.

Bottom Line

As you can see, all these services offer something unique and what people really need. This is a powerful combination when it comes to business. 

So what do you think? Are you still interested in starting a business in the cannabis industry? Or maybe you already have a startup? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comment section below.

For more information about the cannabis industry, take a look at the infographic below.

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Should You Hire a Freelance Writer for Your Business?

Content marketing is a must-have strategy for any business in 2019 for big corporations and personal brands alike. Your positioning in the niche and your reputation depend on it greatly. There is just one pesky downside – maintaining a blog takes a lot of time. Now, delegating some of the most time-consuming tasks to the professionals sounds like a good idea, yet will it work for your business?

Another issue is value for money. Services of a good writer can be costly, and if you are a small company or an individual webpreneur, your budget might be limited. Of course, you can always use a paper help discount code and order content from a service that matches you with content writers on a budget. Yet that’s a one-off solution for emergencies. What about long-time strategies, then?

To decide whether hiring an external freelance writer for your business, you must consider the following:

Personality and consistency

You want all your content and all messages to your audience from your brand to be consistently written in your brand’s tone of voice. That’s why hiring a freelance writer is tricky, since inconsistency in style will be apparent at first glance.

If you are a big and established brand with a style handbook, this issue can be navigated, since you have guidelines, recommendations, and a comprehensive portfolio of text that your ghostwriter can study and take as an example. Plus, there is a chance that your style is already known to them.

Still, even the most skilled and experienced writer does not possess the personality of your CEO or whoever they are tasked to mimic. So for content intended for the upper segments of the sales funnel, when you want your audience simply to see and read you, hiring freelancers makes sense. However, for the authoritative content with which you plan to build your reputation as the opinion leader in the niche, it’s better to use your own resources. Same goes for the strategic content that will make your visitors into leads and, subsequently, customers. 

Hire an in-house writer or editor if you think that your writing skills need some polishing, but write the content yourself. Who else but you has the expertise and authentic experience your audience came here for?

Consider the right balance

Working with freelance writers can be a good investment for your company when you begin positioning yourself. After all, they are professionals and their strong skills and abilities are something to learn from. Working with a writer can even help you to develop your brand’s tone of voice and your own writing style, which is a great investment in your business and the quality of the future content.

However, content writers usually lack technical and background expertise, even if they work in the same niche or with similar companies as yours. It isn’t really fair to expect it from them. Still, you can have the best of two worlds. You can jot down your ideas in a first quick-and-dirty draft and task your freelance writer with polishing it. This way you will present your audience with valuable insights in a sleek readable form.

Platforms

Another thing to consider is the intended platform. If the blog is hosted on your website, it gives you more flexibility with style and format. It’s a good place for both in-depth contents that requires an understanding of your brand and for entertaining stuff that hooks the passers-by and attracts a wider audience.

However, if you intend to win the social media game, you must play by their rules. To be the best on Facebook or Twitter you must hire a skilled SMM manager rather than a talented copywriter. If you seriously relying on social media for your success, you need someone who knows the subtleties of these channels, their audiences and ways to engage them.

All in all, it’s a decision that you make based on your company’s needs, available budget, and costs and benefits ratio. Either in-house or freelance – a writer is certainly not a must-have even in a content marketing game.