cloud storage solutions

Viable Alternatives to AWS

Going by usage statistics, Amazon’s AWS is the most popular platform in the world for virtualizing business IT infrastructure. Customers love it for its ability to scale up to potentially millions of users, the ability to customize every aspect to your liking and the security and reliability of the industry’s biggest name. Still, it’s not a perfect platform. Among the knocks against it are that it’s tough to come to grips with if you’re not technically inclined and don’t have an IT staff doing everything for you, and AWS tech support operates on a sliding scale and can get very expensive with heavy use.

Coupon sites like VPS coupons can help mitigate the overall cost of AWS, but it’s an at-best temporary solution.

AWS has grown to over a million customers, including heavy hitters like Netflix and Samsung, but that doesn’t mean it’s automatically going to be right for your specific business needs. If you feel like AWS just isn’t quite the right fit for you, here’s six of the best alternatives to take a look at.

1) Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

cloud storage solutionsGCP launched after AWS and has spent most of its life playing catch-up, but it’s now at the point where it is drawing very close to Amazon’s offering. Like AWS, GCP offers not just virtual computing but a robust range of services including storage,big data analytics and machine learning. It’s exceptionally fast when it comes to handling huge amounts of data, and if you’re already widely using other Google services it’s very easy to integrate with them. The ease of use of the browser-based console is also very popular with their customers.

2) Microsoft Azure

Microsoft’s Azure platform has also grown to become one of AWS’s closest competitors in terms of size and scope. This is a particularly popular platform for businesses looking to run a hybrid cloud model, particularly those with longstanding local Windows systems and lots of legacy users to get switched over. Microsoft also puts a particular emphasis on larger enterprise customers, especially those that are already users of their various cloud-based services like Office 365.

3) IBM Softlayer

Softlayer’s competitive advantage is a huge number of data centers, making it arguably the most reliable and fastest option out there. As with Microsoft Azure, it’s also more friendly to hybrid cloud solutions than many of the other options in this space. It’s an excellent choice for those who want dedicated servers that they don’t have to share with anyone else, and these private virtual servers are also highly customizable. This does tilt it a bit toward larger organizations with a dedicated IT staff, however, as getting applications up and running can take more work here than it does with options like AWS.

4) DigitalOcean

If you run Linux and you want things as simple and basic as possible, DigitalOcean is the solution that is most closely tailored to your needs. They also focus on being the most affordable of the major options, and their prices are fixed regardless of things like traffic quantity. And if your development scheme happens to align with what their offering, this is very likely going to be the fastest option for you as well.

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5) Hetzner

Hetzner is another “budget” option tailored to smaller companies or those with a very specific infrastructure. This one is based in Germany, so it’s more appealing to developers and businesses located in Europe or who expect the majority of their traffic from that region. They’re very customizable, and offer you the ability to scale up to if you outgrow their budget offerings. However, you’ll have to be comfortable with managing your servers yourself, including securing yourself against DDoS and other forms of attack.

6) IBM Bluemix

IBM’s other cloud-based option focuses heavily on the ability to customize your platform, which is one of the primary features sought after by app developers. Bluemix is “platform as a service” (PaaS) rather than “Infrastructure as a Service” (IaaS), however, it won’t suit everyone’s needs quite as well. Non-developers trying to use it will likely find it too confusing and overwhelming to get everything they want to work, in spite of advertising declaring that you don’t have to know anything about coding to use it. On the plus side, IBM’s customer service is some of the best in the business at present and is available around the clock.

smart kitchen

5 Brilliant IoT Devices That Will Change Your Kitchen

The Internet of Things, the network of object and devices connected with each other, is considered to be the next big wave of the internet. Equipped with state-of-the-art sensors, cameras, and Wi-Fi connectivity, everyday devices such as coffee machines, ovens, and light bulbs are becoming smarter, more efficient, and more independent. Some of the most amazing IoT devices that are being developed are kitchen appliances, and they have to potential to completely transform your cooking experience.

1. Somabar Cocktail Maker

Somabar is a robotic appliance that can prepare cocktails and infuse bitters to make the perfect drink in seconds. Somabar contains six Soma pods, three on each side of the appliance, that are used to keep the ingredients for your drinks fresh. The pods are removable, portable, and dishwasher safe. The Somabar menu contains over 300 drinks to choose from, and can suggest drinks from the menu based on the ingredients you already have.

2. Smart Plate

Smart Plate is a connected device that uses object recognition and weight measurement to analyze the content of your meals and determine the number of calories in them, thereby painting a complete picture of your eating habits. The 10-inch plate is microwave- and refrigerator-resistant, comes in several colors, and can be connected to any wireless device to instantly and automatically track your meals. Smart Plate also offers a “Portion Patrol” feature, which alerts you when you put too much food on your plate, helping you reach and maintain your fitness goals.

3. Drop Scale

Drop Scale is a connected, wireless kitchen scale that works with the Drop App to allow you to cook using interactive, step-by-step, single-bowl recipes. The Drop App features options such as Recipe Rescaling and Ingredient Substitution, while the scale itself has a touch button on the front which lets you interact with your iPad without touching it with dirty fingers. The Drop Scale is covered in heat-resistant silicone and can weigh quantities up to 6 kg.

4. June Oven

June is an intelligent oven that uses food-recognition software to identify what you are cooking. The oven also weighs the food and suggests the most suitable cooking method for it. Carbon fiber elements heat the contents of the oven super-fast while the exterior, protected by advanced insulation, remains cool and safe to touch. Throughout the cooking process, June uses temperature sensors to determine when the food is thoroughly cooked. The oven camera allows you to check on your dinner from your smartphone without having to go to the kitchen.

5. Mr. Coffee

Belkin’s Mr. Coffee is a connected coffee machine that allows you to schedule and monitor your coffee brewing from your smartphone. Mr. Coffee’s Optimal Brew technology heats the water up to 205 degrees Celsius, the optimal temperature for extracting the most flavor out of coffee. This coffeemaker features a sleek exterior of black and chrome, a double-walled stainless steel carafe that holds up to 10 cups of coffee, and LED lights which signal if the machine is connected. In the absence of wireless connectivity, Mr. Coffee can be used to make coffee manually.

Some of the most amazing IoT devices available right now are kitchen items, and they can replace a large amount of your work by allowing you to plan all your kitchen activity from your smartphone. From machines that can have hot coffee ready for you when you wake up, to plates that tell you how many calories you are eating, the Internet of Things will make an enormous difference in the way you prepare and eat your meals.

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5 Best Project Management Tools

5 Best Project Management Tools

Project management tools have become a necessity in modern times and it no longer matters whether you are working alone or in a team, these tools will still be required one way or the other.

In this article, we shall take a look at some of the top 5 project management tools but first, it is important to note that most of these tools come with a free trial plan so you can try them out before fully investing your money on it.

#1. Basecamp

This project management tool enjoys the confidence of more than 285 000 companies and with thousands more companies subscribing to it each month, this can only show how popular it is. Many users have applauded it for its ease of use, as is evident right from its clear navigation channels when you try to sign up and load a s sample.

Particularly of interest is the Everything button in the navigation that offers a one-page view of everything. If you wish to take a quick glance of your progress and activity such as files currently being worked on and posted messages, there is the Me scree that allows that. Needless to mention, it has a fair pricing, of just about $20 a month for 10 projects and this also comes with unlimited number of users as well as a 3 GB storage capacity.  Here is an overview of how it works.

#2. Asana

Asana is yet another great project management tool. It comes with a main task list where each task contains an arrow next to it. In order to bring up a new screen, you simply need to click any of these arrows.

Getting started is also fairly easy as you can simply choose to make a new project and select a template for it. A template could either contain a bug hunting lists as well as ideas list and a milestone-based list. In case you do not already have a template for your project, there is also the option of starting with a blank sheet.

One great feature of Asana is that it offers a built-in calendar where you can visually monitor the progress of your tasks or those of the other members of your team, The calendar is supported by Outlook or Google syncing capabilities.

Also, it has an interactive platform where you can “like’’ or “follow’’ a specific project so as to stay updated on it. It comes with a free plan supporting 15 users and then prices begin to rise where 50 users cost $300 per month and a team of 100 members cost $800.

#3. Podio

Podio is a collection of apps where project management happens to be one of the major ones. To begin on Podio, you simply select the projects section and then land on your ongoing projects. There is a project bar assigned to each project and upon clicking a bar, you are introduced to a list of members, tasks, dates and, at times, the designated project owner.

The only drawback to Podio is its rigid navigation system which also happens to be quite slow and confusing to learn. All in all, it is free for up to 5 users, after which any additional user is charged $9 per month.

#4. Sandgalz

Sandgalz may not already have a large user base but that’s precisely because it is a new tool. Be that as it may, it is one of the recommended tools for pure task management. It bears resemblance to Outlook, so using its tasks is more or less similar to managing tasks on Outlook.

Users applaud it more for its ability to prioritize tasks as it contains a Not important section where the less crucial tasks can be relegated as you address what matters most. Also, the tasks can be managed in grids with respective deadlines assigned to each task. The last flexibility it offers is that of enabling you to filter your tasks through features such as @mentions and #hashtags. It may not have a free plan but the cost of $5 per team member per month is quite fair.

#5. Trello

For a price of $5 a month per user, this project management tool offers far more than you can ever imagine. This tool is divided into boards, cards and columns – features that allow flexibility in workflow. The cards are of special interest as they allow you to add a due date to your project as well as apply you desired colored labels and attach various files. They also allows you to comment as you try to communicate with your fellow subscribers, as well as add checklists for the subtasks you are working on.

Now, this is what might give it an edge over other project management tools – that Trello offers apps for Windows, iOS and Android, which means it is one of the most ideal tools to use on your tablet or phone.

Machine Learning and How it Will Affect Your Business

Machine Learning and How it Will Affect Your Business

Ever want to make running your business easier? Not qualified to program your computer to meet your ever changing needs? Well there is help out there through machine learning programs.

What is Machine Learning?

Machine learning is where computers act without explicit programming. This technology is being used in the self-driving cars being manufactured today. Computers analyze gathered data and make decisions, predictions and produce the best results. Computers use algorithms to gain this new data and help it make these reliable decisions and produce the best results. In other words the computers learn as they go.

This Is Not New Technology

Machine learning has been around for almost 60 years beginning in 1959. Over the years scientists have been fine tuning the process resulting in the prototype self driving cars and other computer driven machines. This work has also focused on producing artificial intelligence robots which can be programmed to help in the home or office. The AI gathers new data and its operation adjusts its actions to meet the corresponding demands of its owner

Machine Learning & Robots

Machine learning is the basis for artificial intelligence or more commonly known as robots. The robot or AI is programmed to gather data and then learn from it in order to perform its tasks more efficiently and better. This ability makes the robot a greater asset to its owner by making it adaptable to receiving more tasks and being flexible enough to adjust to the new tasks given it.

How Can Machine Learning Help You?

By employing machine learning to your computer, you can receive better information or data to help guide you in the daily operations of your business. Instead of wasting time or spending money on a computer specialist to specifically programming your computer for each new task, your computer can come equipped with machine learning capabilities which allows it to learn as it goes.

With a machine learning computer you save time money and can streamline your work day with the new information the computer gives you.

Future Expectations of Machine Learning

Machine learning is still in its infancy stages as researchers fine tune the programs and filter out any and all possible problems that may arise during operations. Their goal is to have computers work efficiently for you without the difficulties of learning how to program our computer. They want to make your business and home life easier and more enjoyable. There is still a ways to go before robots or AI machines can act like humans.