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C Programming

 

The C programming language has been around for over 46 years, and many people would consider that quite a feat. After all, few languages have that level of longevity.

 

Not only is C still relevant, but it’s also in demand, cracking many top 10 lists focused on the most desirable languages for programming professionals. But how has C managed to succeed while so many others have, by comparison, failed? If you are wondering about its retained relevance, here’s what you need to know.

 

C Evolves

The C programming language of today isn’t the same iteration as the original. ANSI C (or ISO C) raised to prominence in the late 1980s. C99 and C11 later became standards in many organizations.

 

Since C is ever-evolving, the language changes to meets the demands of today’s IT world. This has allowed those with C skills to simply update their level of competency and businesses to keep moving forward, treating it as an advanced version of the status quo.

 

 

C Footprint

C has been around for nearly five decades. That means a lot of existing code is written in C. Approximately 31 percent of Debian Linux was comprised of C programming, along with various legacy database systems.

 

The sheer amount of code written in C helps it remain relevant. Replacing these systems with alternatives focused on other languages would be costly, making it an unattractive approach for even forward-thinking organizations. And, if the current option is still meeting a company’s needs, the incentive to change is even more minimal.

 

C Is Popular

Whether developers enjoy, or are at least willing to tolerate, a particular language also plays a big role in longevity. When given a choice, programmers typically default to options with which they are comfortable.

 

The fairly wide use of the C programming language means many professionals operating in the development and coding arenas know how to use C. The increased level of familiarity helps keep it alive and increases the odds that newer systems will feature at least some C-based code.

 

Additionally, developers aren’t keen on switching to another language unless it offers an obvious benefit. While C++, Go, and Rust could potentially replace C, they don’t typically provide enough to make switching necessary.

 

Ultimately, C does the job, so moving away from something that works doesn’t make a lot of sense in the eyes of development professionals.

 

Will C remain a popular language for years to come? It’s hard to say. However, its widespread use, and general popularity help keep it relevant in 2018, making it a skill worth acquiring and maintaining for many programming professionals.

 

If you are currently looking for new developer job opportunities, including those featuring C as a requirement, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with some of the leading employers in the area. Contact us to learn more about our available positions and see how our services can help you take the next step in your programmer career today.

 

 

Thursday, May 31 2018

The Baby Tech Market is Booming

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Baby Tech

 

Generation Y, or the Millennials, are primarily considered to be the first generation to grow up with tech. Now, as even the youngest members gain traction as adults, their preference for technology is reshaping another industry: the baby market.

 

Tech-savvy Millennials are looking for innovative baby products and, if they don’t find what they are looking for, some are deciding to create offerings and enter the marketplace. Startups are supporting the tech baby boom, and it isn’t likely to slow down any time soon.

 

If you aren’t familiar with the burgeoning tech baby market, here’s what’s on the horizon.

 

Better Monitoring or Tracking

In comparison to many other forms of tech, baby monitors were largely lacking. While video-enabled devices entered the marketplace some time ago, new advances are adding AI-supported features.

 

For example, Cocoon Cam is creating a product that will monitor an infant's vitals, letting parents examine the information or potentially receive alerts if an issue is detected.

 

Knowledge-oriented services, like Tinyhood, look to provide parents with valuable information and expert device on-demand, helping them with everything from sleep schedules to breastfeeding challenges.

 

Tech-Supported Planning

Most Millennial parents would likely describe themselves as busy and frequently on-the-go. This has created a need for services designed to help make planning easier to manage.

 

For example, Galore is an app-based program that helps parents plan activities and book classes. Fabric allows parents to create a digital will that can be accessed through the parents’ smartphones and adjust their life insurance plans whenever the need arises.

 

Most of these services focus on being user-friendly and highly accessible, ensuring that busy parents have access to the right tools to handle their obligations quickly and efficiently.

 

 

More Than Fashion

Young children often outgrow clothes much faster than they can wear them out, and services like Kidizen is looking to fill a void in the resale arena. The platform would help parents find second-hand items for their children or sell their children’s clothing or shoes when they outgrow them.

 

Since most Millennials are familiar with the resale concept thanks to services like Etsy and Airbnb, it is a void that seems only natural to fill.

 

The Baby Tech Trend

The baby tech trend likely began as many Millennial tech entrepreneurs started having children of their own, making the need for new products and services more apparent to their creators.

 

However, this isn’t a trend that is likely to end any time soon, especially since the next generation, Gen Z, has a similar affinity for technology and the oldest members of that generation are already adults. Additionally, IoT and smart devices are becoming more prevalent in general, showing that there is certainly an opportunity for similar offerings that focus on the needs and desires of parents.

 

If you would like to know more about the baby tech book, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Call Center

 

To say that call center agents spend a lot of time on the phone is an understatement. In most cases, their entire shift is dedicated to helping callers by answering questions and resolving issues. As the day wears on, it can be hard to maintain a level of enthusiasm, especially when the calls are some repetitive in nature. Additionally, fatigue makes it more difficult to judge the emotional state of the caller, which can be harmful.

 

Now, a software program called Cogito is looking to improve the call center experience for agents and customers alike. Here’s how.

 

Cogito Voice-Analysis

At its core, Cogito is software that analyzes the tone and pattern of the speaker’s voice, making adjustments based on word choice and even the length of time the line goes silent. It does this through robust algorithms supported by machine learning, allowing it to use data from other voice records to assess the status of a call as it progresses.

 

Cogito Call Center Software

When Cogito notices that a call participant, including agents or customers, has a voice pattern that suggests a potential problem, it alerts the call center representative.

 

For example, if it determines the agent's tone isn’t as cheerful, a notification that looks like a little cup of coffee pops up on the screen. This lets the representative know that their mood has changed, giving them a chance to refocus and correct it.

 

Similarly, if the software detects that a customer may be experiencing heightened emotions, either positive or negative, a heart icon displays. When they see the heart icon, the agent knows that the caller is having an emotional reaction and can adjust their approach if necessary.

 

 

What Does This Mean for Jobs?

Ultimately, Cogito isn’t designed to replace people in call centers. Instead, it functions in a support role, helping them assess how a call is going more quickly and efficiently so that quick action can be taken should the need arise.

 

The goal of software like Cogito is to provide customers with a better experience by bringing things to the attention of representatives that a person may have a more difficult time ascertaining. While an employee can certainly notice a heightened emotional state in a caller, they might not be as aware of their own tone. Additionally, the software may recognize changes in mood and cadence used by the customer more quickly than the agent, allowing them to intervene more rapidly to diffuse tense situations.

 

Some similar software offerings, like one from State Collection Service, can even display congratulatory messages to agents when it believes that a customer was satisfied with the interaction. These quick moments can help boost morale and confidence among agents, allowing them to be more effective at their jobs. Additionally, it can provide helpful tips, like steps to calm an upset customer, as soon as a potential issue is detected, giving the representative guidance when it is needed most.

 

In the end, software like Cogito isn’t going to replace workers, only give them new tools to help them be more productive and effective in their roles.

 

If you would like to learn more, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Healthy Snacks

 

When it comes to maintaining your health, getting quality sleep is a must. Not only can it help lower your risk of developing certain chronic conditions, but it also supports healthy brain function, digestive health, and immune function.

 

While most healthcare professionals recommend that people get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night, many struggle with reaching that target.

 

Luckily, there are things you can do to help you get more uninterrupted sleep, and eating the right before-bed snack may be one of them. If you need to get sounder sleep, here are a few snacks to try.

 

Almonds

Almonds provide a number of health benefits, and some suggest that better sleep may be one of them. Like certain other nuts, almonds contain melatonin, a sleep-regulating hormone. Additionally, a single serving provides 19 percent of your daily magnesium needs, and magnesium can improve the quality of your sleep.

 

Turkey

Anecdotal evidence that turkey makes people sleepy is available in abundance. Some attribute this to the presence of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps with the production of melatonin. However, research is somewhat divided regarding whether turkey contains enough tryptophan to have an impact.

 

But, turkey is also a source of protein and having a moderate amount of this macronutrient before bed is associated with sounder sleep.

 

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Chamomile Tea

While chamomile tea is a beverage and not a snack, it could help you get better quality sleep. Not only is it usually caffeine free, but it also contains the antioxidant apigenin, which may promote sleepiness.

 

A small study found that those who consumed chamomile extract before bed fell asleep faster and had less nighttime waking. While the study used an extract, drinking chamomile tea is worth a try if you have trouble falling and staying asleep, especially since a separate study suggested the tea also provided benefits.

 

Kiwi

A study involving 24 adults showed that those who consumed two kiwifruits one hour before heading to bed fell asleep 42 percent faster than when they didn’t have a snack. They also reported less nighttime waking, increasing their total sleep time.

 

Kiwis contain serotonin, a chemical that can help regulate a person’s sleep cycle. Certain antioxidants in the fruits may also promote better sleep. However, additional research is required to determine if either of those points are responsible for the benefits.

 

Walnuts

Like almonds, walnuts contain melatonin. Additionally, they are a great source of healthy fats, including ALA, which may help a person sleep sounder.

 

Limited studies have been conducted on walnuts, so additional research is required to support it’s potential. However, eating a handful of walnuts before bed may be worth a try.

 

By choosing one of the snacks or drinks above, you might find that you fall asleep faster and experience less nighttime waking, allowing you to get the rest you need to support your overall health and productivity.

 

If you would like to know more, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our staff members today and see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Noise

 

When you’re getting ready to drift off to sleep, a single noisy distraction can leave you jolted awake, struggling to reclaim the sense of ease you need to get some quality shuteye. Whether it’s your neighbor’s dog barking in the yard, a car alarm that is set off by the slightest breeze, or the sound of your refrigerator kicking on, reducing the amount of noise you are exposed to should be an essential part of your nighttime routine.

 

If you struggle to get the rest you need, here are some options for eliminating noisy distractions so you can get some sleep.

 

Industrial-Strength Earplugs

Sometimes, the easiest way to deal with noises is earplugs. If you purchase high-quality industrial-strength versions, they can both be comfortable and effective.

 

You’ll need to find a brand that offers the proper size for your ears. Otherwise, they may become dislodged in the middle of the night. Once you do, consider purchasing them in bulk, so you can replace worn out or missing earplugs as needed.

 

Additionally, make sure you can hear your alarm through the earplugs, so you don’t sleep longer than intended.

 

Hang Heavy Curtains

Thick, sound-absorbing curtains can make a world of difference when you need to keep noises from entering your bedroom. Select options that will fully cover any windows, buying different curtain rods if necessary to ensure the fabric provides sufficient coverage, and hang a set over your doors as well. This helps give you protection from sounds that may slip through any cracks, making your room significantly quieter.

 

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Buy Carpet

If your floors are wood, tile, laminate, or similar material, then invest in some carpeting to help dampen the noise. You can either install wall-to-wall carpet or purchase area rugs, as both can help. For additional noise reduction, consider adding a sound-absorbing pad, giving you an extra buffer. You can also layer area rugs over each other or place them on top of carpeting to reduce noise even further.

 

Try a White Noise Machine

White noise helps by overpowering ambient sounds, ensuring that any extraneous sounds don’t affect your sleep. You can purchase a white noise machine (including versions with built-in alarm clocks) or find a suitable app for your smartphone or tablet.

 

Alternatively, you can use a fan to accomplish a similar goal. So, if you already have a decent fan, consider turning it one every night instead of investing in a white noise machine.

 

If white noise doesn’t do the job, you can also try a sound machine that includes natural-sounding audio that you find soothing. You can also find nature sound tracks in a variety of apps or as downloads from a range of music stores.

 

By following the tips above, you can eliminate noisy distractions, helping you get a better night’s sleep each and every day. If you would like to learn more or are seeking out new opportunities, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with a member of our knowledgeable team today and see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Cryptocurrency

 

After Bitcoin’s meteoric rise in 2017, the world has become fascinated with cryptocurrencies. The virtual currencies were designed to be an alternative medium for payments, employing new ledger mechanisms to record transactions and monitor the flow of funds.

 

However, the largely unregulated cryptocurrency market has also come under fire. Scams aren’t uncommon, and some question whether they help support illegal activities simply based on how they are designed, even if it is an unintentional side effect.

 

Cryptocurrencies are shaking up the global market. If you aren’t familiar with how they are used, here’s what you need to know.

 

The Appeal of Cryptocurrencies

While initially considered a novelty by many governments, cryptocurrencies have significant potential when it comes to international dealings. The funds are easy to use and can provide alternatives to individuals or companies operating in countries where the local currency is unstable.

 

Additionally, cryptocurrencies are primarily unregulated, providing people with the ability to circumvent strict controls regarding taxation and the flow of money, both internally and across borders.

 

The technical mechanisms are also appealing to some. Blockchain ledgers provide some benefits for the recording and tracking of transactions, being mostly transparent and unalterable.

 

Government Responses and Perspectives

As cryptocurrencies gained traction, many governments began examining the digital currency market in an effort to develop proper controls, particularly when it comes to preventing issues like tax evasion. However, few limitations on the use of cryptocurrencies are currently in place, and it may take time to resolve any potential problems, as some may not yet be especially apparent.

 

 

Issues of High Volatility

One of the biggest concerns regarding cryptocurrencies is their volatile nature. At one point in 2017, Bitcoins were valued at over $19,000 each. However, the market has since experienced significant declines, even falling below the $8,000 mark.

 

While the high experienced by Bitcoin has led some to invest in it and other altcoins as a means of diversifying their portfolios, the future of most cryptocurrencies is incredibly uncertain. Some financial experts fear that a crash is inevitable while others claim that a recovery is on the horizon.

 

A boom or crash can impact global markets in a variety of ways, though the low total market capitalization should prevent a drop from having the same level of impact as those in other areas, such as when mortgage-backed securities led to a global financial crisis.

 

The size of the market likely means that there is little systemic risk today, though that may change depending on how much traction cryptocurrencies gain and how investors react. Additionally, new legislation will impact the effect virtual currencies have on larger markets, but the precise impact of regulations won’t be fully known until they are in place.

 

Ultimately, cryptocurrencies are a fledgling part of the global market, so the full effect of their presence may not be known for some time.

 

If you are interested in learning more, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our expertise can benefit you.