Credits : Cnbc


Microsoft has developed open-source software for crafting artificial intelligence models. But in recent months, the company has changed course, opting to work more closely with Facebook and contribute to the development of Facebook’s own flavor of free AI software.

Microsoft hasn’t made a big deal about the change. But it reflects a willingness to back software that comes from other major technology companies, rather than focusing only on its own platforms.

Google is the company behind the most popular open-source AI software, TensorFlow, which became available in late 2015. Microsoft put its Cognitive Toolkit, or CNTK, software on GitHub and gave it a more permissive open-source license in early 2016, and Facebook came out PyTorch, its answer to TensorFlow, later in 2016.

The Microsoft system has strengths, particularly for building speech recognition systems, but PyTorch has gained adoption quickly and has some interesting technical features of its own, Microsoft’s chief technology officer, Kevin Scott, told CNBC in an interview this week.

Last year, Scott met with Facebook’s chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer, and decided it would be good for the companies to attempt to “defrag some of the complexity” in the ecosystem of software that people can use to train AI models. In Sept. 2017 Facebook and Microsoft together introduced ONNX, a piece of open-source software for exporting models trained with one AI software framework, like Microsoft’s Cognitive Toolkit, so that they can be used to make predictions with other frameworks, like Facebook’s PyTorch.

The reality is there are just too many AI frameworks out there, said Sai Soundararaj, cofounder and CEO of AI start-up FloydHub. The start-up’s cloud service has supported Microsoft’s Cognitive Toolkit, but it hasn’t gotten much use from customers, Soundararaj said.

Microsoft hasn’t abandoned Cognitive Toolkit, even as it’s focusing more on other projects. The Microsoft software still receives updates.

But the direction is clear. “The momentum of community, really, is around PyTorch and TensorFlow, and so that’s where were throwing the bulk of our emphasis,” said Eric Boyd, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of AI platform. “Having community adoption is hugely important.”

The move around Cognitive Toolkit is part of a recent trend at Microsoft to embrace technology from outside the company. It has embraced Linux, making it accessible from within Windows 10 and creating a Linux version of its SQL Server database software. It has reduced its efforts around Windows for mobile devices and ramped up development of applications for Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. And Microsoft stopped developing its own big-data software, Dryad, and threw its support around the Hadoop open-source tools.

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Credits : Gsmarena


The Honor Magic 2 got official at the end of last month with a mechanical slider design that lets it reach an 84.8% screen-to-body ratio. It’s a system that’s similar to that employed by Xiaomi’s Mi Mix 3 and it enables an almost entirely bezel-less look on the front.

The Honor Magic 2 is now receiving an intriguing software update. If you’re lucky enough to own one you’ll get a notification soon (if you haven’t already), which will prompt you to install software version (C00E129R1P18).

This brings with it an unexpected switch from Huawei’s EMUI to something called Magic UI 2.0, which the company describes as being “a next generation AI-powered system”. It’s the first time we’ve seen Huawei sub-brand Honor depart from using EMUI in its smartphones.

Since this is its current aspirational flagship device though, it makes sense it would get a reimagined interface. You should apparently see a brand new color scheme, new icons and fonts, all part of “a new magical journey with Magic UI 2.0’s stylish interface, AI capabilities, and evolving YoYo smart assistant”.

The November 2018 security patches from Google are also built into the update, which will require a 214MB download.

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Credits : Leadingjournal


Web Design Market Report, Forecast to 2023 provides information on, market analysis, shares, Trends, forecast, and company profiles for key industry participants. The main objective of Web Design Market report is to define, and forecast the global market on the basis of types of applications, major sectors, deployment models, organization size, and regions.

The Web Design Market report contains an analysis of the major factors influencing the growth of the market (drivers, restraints, opportunities, and challenges). Web Design Market aims to strategically analyze the micro-markets with respect to individual growth trends, prospects, and their contribution to the market.

Web Design Market The Study Objectives Are:

  • To analyze and research the global Web Design Market status and future forecast involving, production, revenue, consumption, historical and forecast.
  • To present the key Web Design Market manufacturers, production, revenue, market share, and recent development.
  • Web Design Market split the breakdown data by regions, type, manufacturers and applications.
  • To analyze the global and key regions market potential and advantage, opportunity and challenge, restraints and risks.
  • To identify significant trends, drivers, influence factors in global and regions.
  • Web Design market analyzes competitive developments such as expansions, agreements, new product launches, and acquisitions in the market.

Application Segment Analysis (Consumption Volume and Market Share 2013-2023; Downstream Customers and Market Analysis): Application 1, Application 2, Application 3

Web Design market Product Type Segment Analysis (Consumption Volume, Average Price, Revenue, Market Share and Trend): Product Type 1, Product Type 2, Product Type 3

In this study, the years considered to estimate the market size of Web Design Market:

  • History Year: 2013 – 2017
  • Base Year: 2017
  • Estimated Year: 2018
  • Forecast Year: 2018 – 2023

Web Design Market Regional Segment Analysis (Regional Production Volume, Consumption Volume, Revenue and Growth Rate 2018-2023):

Web Design Market report attempts to forecast the market size for 5 major regions, namely, North America, Europe, Asia Pacific (APAC), Middle East and Africa (MEA), and Latin America. It contains key vendor profiles and comprehensively analyzes their core competencies. The report also tracks and analyzes competitive developments, including partnerships, collaborations, acquisitions, new product developments, and R&D activities in the market.

Key Topics Covered in the Web Design Market:

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Web Design Market Outlook
  3. Trade Dynamics
  4. Channel Partner Analysis
  5. Web Design Market Dynamics
  6. Market Trends & Developments
  7. Competitive Landscape
  8. Strategic Recommendations
  9. And More

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Credits : Windowsreport


Adecade ago, website creation was an area reserved only to those of us who had solid programming skills. Nowadays, anybody can build their own website.

There are a variety of website builders online – Wix, GoDaddy – that offer a wide range of options and templates, both free and paid, for your online businesses, galleries, blogs, etc.

WordPress is used by more than 60 million websites and it offers a free and open-source content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL that includes plugin architecture, a template system, and it’s used even in domains such as pervasive display systems (PDS).

Using WordPress‘s themes allows any user to change the look and functionality of a WordPress website without altering the site‘s core code or site content which comes in very handy.

WordPress also offers a wide range of plug-ins (55,286 available), allowing you to extend the features of any website or blog with ease. Using these plug-ins, the customization ability of your website is almost unlimited and you can use them for search engine optimization (SEO), client portals, content management ,features of content displaying and more.

Because of WordPress‘s popularity, most website builders let you set up your WordPress site easily and usually give you a more visualy pleasant experience with some added features.

So, let’s see what are the best website building software for WordPress.

Top 5 website design software options for WordPress




GoDaddy - webdesign for WordPress

GoDaddy Inc. is one of the world’s largest ‘web services’ companies. They were founded as a domain registrar but today they provide an entire range of services from web hosting to website builders.

Like many other companies, because of the popularity of using WordPress for setting up websites, GoDaddy created their own ”WordPress Hosting” product.

Even though GoDaddy’s specialty is not hosting (they started as a domain registrar) – their Website Builder for WordPress product competes with other companies on the market.

One of the biggest hurdles for new website owners is the learning curve of a new setup – dealing with settings, drop-downs and jargon. Their WordPress Hosting product has back end design, usability and ‘onboarding’ to help you with these issues.

GoDaddy provides SFTP ( Secure File Transfer Protocol) and staging areas on their upper plans and also provide WordPress specific support.

The simplicity of setting everything up takes away some of the stress of actually running your website and makes the WordPress installation ‘a one-click experience’ while offering plenty of web designs to get you inspired.

Go Daddy website builder for WordPress gives you the opportunity to choose the best visual setup weather you’re using it for your business or passion.

GoDaddy website builder key features:

  • Professional imagery -great library of royalty-free photography and option to upload your own
  • Swipe-to-style interface – easy to create and update the look of your site
  • The ability to customize every part of your website’s pages with easy editable templates
  • Professionally designed styles and beautifully coordinated color sets
  • Easy set up to start selling online
  • Easy to manage inventory – supports adding over 5000 products with a few clicks
  • Support for all major credit cards, PayPal and even Apple Pay
  • Flexible shipping
  • Purchase e-mail reminders for customers that left something in their cart
  • Easy blog creation without the need to install plug-ins


Pinegrow - WordPress design

Pinegrow is a Windows web editor that offers a quick solution for building responsive websites with live multi-page editing, CSS, SASS styling, CSS Grid Editor and smart components for WordPress.

Pinegrow key features:

  • Visual control for CSS gradients and an entire library dedicated to gradient presets
  • Smart drag & drop features
  • Page libraries
  • Element code edit support
  • Page code editor
  • Live editor for SASS and LESS without any external tools
  • Active rules
  • You can edit your pages for multiple device sizes
  • Custom breakpoints which Pinegrow can detect by analyzing stylesheets
  • Media queries
  • You can define templates by using ‘master pages’ feature (Pro edition)
  • Static CMS (Pro edition)

Pinegrow lets you create production-ready WordPress themes, and also exports the standard PHP WordPress files. You can preview PHP code, import WP content and add 200+ WP actions.

Pinegrow comes in 3 types of licences suiting different types of users – inviduals, companies and students with three subcategories for each one of them.

The ‘Standard’ version of any of these 3 options is suitable for building one-page websites, the ‘Pro’ version allows you to create multi-page websites with other added features like CMS. The ‘Pro with WordPress’ version can be used to easily create production-ready WordPress themes and all the futures included in the Pro edition.



Artisteer Web Design

Artisteer 4.3 is an easy-to-use web design generator for Windows that offers hundreds of design option and ability to export them to WordPress.

You can easily design awesome blogs and cool web templates in minutes without the need to learn Photoshop, CSS, or HTML, with the ability to include images and buttons to your newly created WordPress template.

It’s poweful tools allow you tho automatically solve any problems with image aliasing, web browser capability and other details enabling you to learn how to create professional HTML and CSS codes.

Artisteer can help you instantly create professional WordPress themes without struggling with Photoshop, Dreamweaver, HTML or CSS. It’s a powerful option even for people without any artistic talent or technical skills.



Elementor Web Design

Elementor is a very powerful and easy to use option for WordPress web designing. You can use this tool to create beautiful landing pages, design blogs, customize your online store, and more.

You can easily customize every part of your WordPress website using the build in Theme Builder and create custom headers, footers, etc.

Elementor has over 80 design elements and other dedicated tools to help you easily generate more traffic, leads and conversions without the use of any plug-ins.

It works perfectly with any theme & plugin in WordPress and it’s available in over 50 languages. The tool offers complete RTL (register-transfer level) and is fully compatible with translation plugins like WPML.

It offers pixel perfect design in WordPress producing 100% clean code allowing you to take your design vision and turn it into a stunning custom-made website

Elementor key features:

  • Drag & drop feature to create the perfect layout
  • Thousands of font options or ability to upload your own custom font
  • CSS filters
  • 18 different shape dividers
  • Hover & scroll animations to increase site interactivity
  • Text shadow
  • Custom color picker
  • Background gradient (BG)
  • Mobile visibility
  • 100+ free and Pro WordPress templates

Elementor is available in 3 versions:

  • The ‘Personal‘ version can be used for only one site with features that include theme builder, premium support, WooCommerce Builder, 50+ Pro Widgets, 300+ Pro Templates and 1 year of updates
  • The ‘Business‘ edition offers all the ‘Personal’ features but can be used for 3 sites
  • The ‘Unlimited‘ version, as the name suggests, can be used for an unlimited number of sites.



Bold Grid

BoldGrid Website Designer

Bold Grid makes it easier than ever for you to start using WordPress by making the experience intuitive, adding features like drag & drop design, free built themes and more.

Bold Grid works as a suite of plugins for WordPress adding to its limited design choices and templates and offers more freedom regarding where you want your site to be hosted at a more accessible price.

Its built-in theme customizer makes it simple to change your layout or color scheme by using either pre-set color palettes or customize your own. The tool also allows you to choose background images and patterns to fit your taste.

The WordPress SEO plugin by BoldGrid analyzes the content on your page in real-time and makes recommendations in order for you to maintain the best SEO practices while writing content.

BoldGrid is compatible with almost any web host that works with WordPress and also offers a list of supporting hosting companies in order for you to the choose the best option for your needs.

One of the best features BoldGrid has to offer is the ability to access Cloud WordPress without using your computer storage space. You can use it to try new plugins, create temporary sites and customize themes without modifying your primary WordPress website.

Bold Grid key features:

  • Drag and drop editor
  • Themes customizer
  • Mobile friendly themes
  • Built-in, real time SEO analysis
  • Support on 1000 + hosts and full hosting support
  • Free WordPress themes and content
  • Complete ownership of websites
  • Limitless website features

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Credits : Customerthink


Imagine one time you came up with a great idea to create a website for your company. The first step to take in this case is to hire a web development team of professionals that can fit the project’s objectives. The selection of the project team is as important issue to plan as the website development cost and budgeting. So, don’t neglect it.

It is mistaken to think that a couple of programmers is all you need to build a site. If you want the future website to be a powerful tool for adding clients and building a customer loyalty, you should also think through digital marketing. Below, we’ll discuss the basic roles in web development and digital marketing teams.

Common structure

So, you’ve contacted a web dev company to build your website. Some companies can suggest a ready-made team, but others can not. The second scenario is common for narrowly focused or recently established companies.

The team structure in different companies can vary. A common web development team includes a UX/UI designer, a couple of Web developers, a Project Manager (PM), a QA Engineer, and a Requirement Analyst (RA).

To promote the future project, this team can also consist of an SEO specialist, a Content writer, and a Marketing strategist. Now let’s get a closer look at each role.

Requirement analyst

The first step of the development process is a planning. At this point, you are interviewed by the requirement analyst. It is a person who analyzes your project ideas and then turns them into a technical specification for designers and web developers.

The main task of this person is to get as much information about the future project as possible. For instance, website main functions, target audience, and desirable architecture.

After it, RA carefully analyzes the obtained information. They estimate the approximate cost of website development for you and then establishes technical documentation.

Project manager

After RA has struck a deal with a client and established technical documentation, it’s a project manager’s turn. PM is a person responsible for delivering the product on time. It is a key person that controls the work ow the whole team. The main PM duties include:

  • Communicating with clients. Are you dissatisfied with something or decided to add a new feature? So it is the person you need to contact with. On your request PM can gives an information about progress. In turn, they contact you when the team needs an additional information about the product.
  • Planning resources. After getting a technical documentation from the requirement analyst, PM estimates how much time and money are needed to accomplish this task.
  • Controlling the development process. PM assigns responsibilities among team members. During the development process, PM monitors whether workers accomplish their tasks on time.
  • Drawing up the project plan. This document includes the full information about timelines, resources, and budget.

UI/UX designer

The designer knows exactly what makes a good website. Two types of design you may encounter are user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design. In most companies, one person is responsible for both of them.

At first, this specialist thinks through user experience, which is extremely important for building trust towards your website. They define the target market and tries to predict user behavior. Then designer identifies difficulties users can face while using your future website. On the basis of this information, a designer makes a wireframe. It is a skeleton of your future website that shows the size and placement of each page element. In case you like the wireframe, it is high time for the designer to think about UI.

While UX design is focused on the structure, UI design deals with visual appearance. It is the most important step on the design process. The designer selects the color scheme, icons, and fonts. They get the sample version of the final product called a prototype. Depending on the particular situation, you may have an opportunity to interact with a prototype, or it can be static.

To meet special requirements, you may also need a graphic designer, who can create a logo, custom font or illustration. The motion designer is also optional, this person creates animations on the website.

Web developer

So, you accepted the designer’s prototype, and then finally you get to the most crucial process. The process of transforming the designed prototype into lines of code. There are two parts of web development:

Front-end or client-side development. It is everything you see on the site: buttons, headlines, login form and so forth. Commonly, the front-end developer must know:

  • HTML5, which is responsible for the structure of a website;
  • CSS is a programming language that describes the style of your website;
  • Javascript;
  • CSS Preprocessing. It stands for using preprocessors like LESS and Sass. They can make it easy and fast to change font or color scheme of your website in case you want to modify the project;
  • CSS frameworks like Twitter Bootstrap;
  • Javascript frameworks like vue.js and react.js;
  • Responsive design. With responsive design, you can be sure that your customers will look good no matter you customers visit it via PC, smartphone or tablet.

Back-end development focuses on functionality requiring interactions with the server. For instance, you have a beautiful subscribe form. The button can change a color when a user hovers a cursor over it, but it isn’t useful without a few lines of code under the hood. Back-end developer writes a script which sends your information to the server and checks it.

Their common duties are integrating a CMS system, implementing security standards, managing database and writing server-side scripts. There is a big list of programming languages for this objective. For instance, PHP, Python, ASP.NET, SQL, and others.

Some companies can offer you, full-stack developers. They can carry out the duties of both previously mentioned specialists.

QA engineer

The last but not least role. The duty of QA engineer is to find bugs in a product before a website user does.

The work begins when the QA engineers get information from the requirement analyst. On the basis of this data, they create a testing plan. Then these specialists receive each version of the product from programmers and test it. The project must correspond requirements, fit customer needs and contain no bugs.

When this specialist finds a bug, they write a bug report and sends it back to developers. Then the developers send the next version with fixed bugs and QA engineer checks whether this bug has finally been fixed. To get the full picture, QA engineer tests a website on different platforms and browsers.

QA engineers also test website design. They check whether colors, size and other features of website elements correspond to requirements. In case something is wrong, QA engineer sends a bug report to a designer.

Now you know the most common team structure. But a simple web development is not enough if you want to get profit from your website. It is quite easy for your project to get lost in an endless number of websites. After the website has been released, you need to make as many users as possible know about it. Especially, when you sell goods online. And here the digital marketing team comes in handy.

Digital marketing team

We’ve already talked about common roles, now let’s consider each role more closely.

SEO specialist

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. The main duties of SEO expert include:

  • Analyzing metrics and traffic of a website. This professional collects and analyzes the information about how many users visit your website every month.
  • Optimizing website. Each search engine has a list of requirements. When the website meets these requirements, the search engine puts it on the top of search results. So more people can find your website. On the basis of requirements, an SEO specialist gives recommendations about changes in website architecture.
  • Analyzing the market. The SEO specialist also defines your rivals and discover their weaknesses, strengths and promotion strategy they have chosen. Additional duties of SEO specialist depend on the purpose of your website.

Content writer

The role of content is often underestimated. Sometimes business owners delegate the task of content writing to the person who is not a professional writer. And as a result, get the low conversion rate.

Content specialist or content writer accomplishes all text-related tasks. This person writes descriptions for products or services, articles to your blog and so forth. They collaborate with SEO specialist to optimize text for search engines. The main duty of this team member is to write easy-to-read copies tailored to your business needs and optimized for searching engines.

This person analyzes the target audience and in accordance with the obtained information finds the best way to persuade clients to buy your products or use your services. The content writer can also create the content strategy. But for better user engagement and customer awareness it is better to hire another expert called marketing strategist.

Marketing Strategist

This is a person responsible for curating the work of previously mentioned specialists and building a strategy that helps the business gain customers. This person analyzes market niche and metrics obtained from SEO specialist, keep in touch with the newest marketing trends and choose topics for blog posts.

So, we’ve introduced you the most essential things to know if you decided to hire a web development team. Take it into consideration when choosing among vendors. But before, carefully analyze the future website to define what specialists and methodology you need.

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Credits : Newindianexpress


Quality, innovation and speed are what this Kollam-based design agency ‘B4Creations’ is focused at. Easy to find, stylish, quick loading is all that you will find in a website created by this agency. This company founded by Ayyappan Sreekumar, Sahil Abdullah and Bilal Muhammed is probably the only web development company with a Google-certified partner, a YouTube partnership, Facebook partnership and giving digital marketing services at affordable rates.

In 2007, Ayyappan, with a passion for learning web development, started a blog. He started learning more about web development and how different techniques can be used to develop interesting websites. “I started creating websites for shops and organisations and got good reviews.

With this experience, I became a web developer,” said Ayyappan, the director of B4Creations.Ayyappan’s next challenge was to study the web developing techniques on Facebook. It was at this that he came to know about Sahil who was much experienced in this field. Bilal was doing events then. In 2012, the trio got together and started a  company ‘B4Creations’ with just four employees. Ayyappan says, “We struggled a lot at the beginning. Then we became director Blessy’s official media management partner. Through him, we got a lot of clients.”



Sahil has created about 30 Wikipedia articles and Ayyappan is an IMDb contributor who gives online database information related to films, television programmes.Now they are a design agency having 20 employees and creating an innovative website for different clients. They have designed their entire process and products around providing everything a small business needs when they are starting out.

This ensures a quick, easy and hassle-free experience working with them. Ayyappan says, “We give our clients full control of their website without a ridiculous price tag, and our friendly team offers their expertise even after the website is live.”

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Credits : Eurekalert


The world’s fastest supercomputer can now perform 200,000 trillion calculations per second, and several companies and government agencies around the world are competing to build a machine that will have the computer power to simulate networks on the scale of the human brain. This extremely powerful hardware requires extremely powerful software, so existing software code must be continually updated to keep up.

Sunita Chandrasekaran, an assistant professor of computer and information sciences at the University of Delaware, is perfectly suited for this challenge. Under a new grant from the National Science Foundation, she is designing frameworks to adapt code to increasingly powerful systems. She is working with complex patterns known as wavefronts, which are commonly found in scientific codes used in analyzing the flow of neutrons in a nuclear reactor, extracting patterns from biomedical data or predicting atmospheric patterns.

Chandrasekaran is an expert on parallel programming — writing software code that can run simultaneously on many multi-core processors. Parallel programming is an increasingly important discipline within computer science as more and more universities and companies use powerful supercomputers to analyze wide swaths of data, from scientific results to consumer behavior insights and more.

Chandrasekaran is looking at scientific applications to see how they were written, how they have been performing on outdated architectures, what kind of programming models have been used, and what challenges have arisen.

“Most of the time the programming models are created in a broad stroke,” she said. “Because they are generalized to address a large pool of commonly found parallel patterns, often the models miss creating features for some complex parallel patterns, such as wavefronts, that are hidden in some scientific applications.”

A wavefront allows for the analysis of patterns in fewer steps. The question is: How do you get the programming model to do that?

One such example is Minisweep, a miniapp that models scenarios within a nuclear reactor by “sweeping” across a grid with squares that represent points in space and are used to calculate the positions, energies, and flows of neutrons. This parent application to Minisweep is used to reduce the odds of a meltdown and to safeguard engineers who work around the nuclear reactor from radiation exposure. Earlier this year, Chandrasekaran and doctoral student Robert Searles demonstrated how they modified the miniapp to perform 85.06 times faster than code that was not parallelized. This work was recently presented in the premier Platform for Advanced Scientific Computing (PASC) 2018 conference and published by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

“We wondered: Is this pattern specific to Minisweep?,” she said. “Or is it going to exist in other codes? Are there other codes that could benefit if I were to put this type of pattern in a programming model and create an implementation and evaluate it?”

For example, Chandrasekaran discovered that some algorithms in bioinformatics, the study of large sets of biological data, contained similar patterns. She suspects that by adapting the software written for Minisweep, she can make great strides toward improving the code. She will try this with data from Erez Lieberman Aiden, assistant professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine and assistant professor of computer science at Rice University. Chandrasekaran met Aiden when he visited UD to give a talk titled “Parallel Processing of the Genomes, by the Genomes and for the Genomes.”

Chandrasekaran was inspired by Aiden’s work with DNA sequences. He uses a computing tool to find long-range interactions between any two elements on the same chromosome, in turn showing the genetic basis of diseases. Chandrasekaran suspected that she could utilize existing patterns and update the code, allowing for faster analysis of this important biological data.

“The goal is not to simply create a software tool,” she said. “The goal is to build real-life case studies where what I create will matter in terms of making science easy.”

Directive-based parallel programming models such as OpenACC and OpenMP will be explored to do this.

Chandrasekaran aims to maintain performance and portability as she redesigns algorithms. She will also keep the scientists who use the algorithms in mind.

“You can’t create a programming model by only looking at the application or only looking at the architecture,” she said. “There has to be some balance.”

This project will benefit scientific application developers who are not necessarily computer scientists. “They can concentrate more on the science and less on the software,” said Chandrasekaran. Scientists come to her with data sets and problems that take hours, days, sometimes months to compute, and she figures out how to make them run faster, thus enabling newer science.

Chandrasekaran will analyze data supplied by Aiden at Baylor and physicists at Oak Ridge National Lab. Searles will also work on the project, and Chandrasekaran is looking for an additional graduate student with an aptitude for parallel programming to help with this project.

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Credits : Fastcompany

The internet is a system that demands more: more engagement, more clicks, more ads, more content, more code, more servers, and more devices. The size of a typical web page has increased exponentially in recent years. Thirty-nine percent of young Americans report they are online “almost constantly.” Today almost 20% of American households contain more than 10 internet-connected devices, which have their own associated energy costs. By 2025, the internet will account for 20% of the energy consumed on the planet.

Last month, Low-Tech Magazine quietly published a completely redesigned site for its technology- and energy-focused journalism that looks radical by comparison. The premise is simple: Less.

Unlike millions of other dynamic sites on the internet today that retrieve each piece of content from a database any time someone visits, Low-Tech’s solar-powered site is simply static documents stored on a single, self-hosted server.

That server is powered by a small photovoltaic array on founder Kris De Decker’s balcony in Barcelona, which keeps the site online when it’s sunny. If it’s cloudy for more than a day or two, Low-Tech goes offline. A battery icon on each article shows how much juice the server has left and the forecast (sunny and 83%, at the moment).

There are no ads or pop-up dialogs, and images are compressed to a bare minimum. The logo is a unicode symbol and the typeface is your browser default, which means your computer doesn’t have to query a server. All in all, the average page size is five times smaller than the old site.It’s a radical departure from the digital design of today, where more videos and dynamic features have made web pages heavier and heavier. But the new site isn’t a Ludditical argument for the return of 1990s-era internet. It’s more like a reminder that our internet has weight–and everyone, from developers and designers to writers and readers–contributes to it.

“We used to [only] be online when we were at a desktop computer with an internet connection,” De Decker says. “But now this limitation is gone, so we’re online from the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep.”

Have you ever thought about how much energy it takes to refresh your Instagram while you’re lying in bed? Be honest. The premise of Low-Tech’s redesign is simple: We should be thinking about it.

The new site is the result of two summers of collaboration with artist Roel Roscam Abbing and designers Marie Otsuka. and Lauren Traugott-Campbell, who received a grant while at RISD to work with De Decker on developing a low-energy platform and content management system for the magazine. Otsuka, now graduated and working as a type designer, wanted the the site to expose its own infrastructure.

“This approach is very specific to Low-Tech, but I do think it’s really important to understand all the parts that go into a website–in addition to the look and feel on the front-end, the infrastructure on the back-end,” she explains. “What the design is aiming to do is show that relationship, and have the infrastructure of the website also be part of the content of the website.”

For instance, they decided to compress every image on the site with dithering, a long-outdated form of compression that was popular in the 1990s:

Dithering makes images 10 times less resource-intensive–but that’s not the only reason they chose it. When the magazine relaunched, commenters pointed out that newer types of image compression could’ve achieved the same savings without changing the look of photos so much. But that wouldn’t broadcast the goal of the design in the same way to readers. “We wanted to highlight this act of compression that’s something we don’t always think about when we’re surfing the web,” Otsuka explains.

The same logic led to the battery meter that accompanies the reader around the site. “It’s the most controversial part of the design–some people really hate it,” De Decker says. “But I think we’ll keep it, because it shows the reader that what you’re doing now consumes energy; depending on how many articles you read, it’s going to go down.”

The team estimates that the site will be offline about 35 days per year or about 10% of the time–another design feature that some critics, unsurprisingly, saw as a glitch. In fact, when commenters pointed out that it would be simple to use multiple servers to keep the site online on cloudy days, Roel Roscam Abbing, the Dutch artist who focused on the new site’s hardware, responded by explaining how the weather is fundamental to the design.

“We are aware that we could make multiple servers around the world to always have the sun shining and use clever routing to always have the machine online,” he wrote. “In the case of our server it is fairly simple to have a 90% uptime with a cheap and energy efficient computer and a small solar panel. However, to go above that 90% we would need to double or triple the machines used, the solar panels necessary and our storage capacity available. That is not even mentioning the resources necessary to maintain all of this in different parts of the world. If this is to work in a sustainable way, we have to change our attitude and the best way to do that in terms of web is to challenge the holy grail of ‘uptime.’”

Otsuka points to Jevons’ paradox, an economic theory that states that if you become more efficient at using a particular resource, you don’t end up using less of it. Instead, you use more–because of increased demand. In other words, the goal isn’t to make today’s typically heavy web design more efficient. It’s to reduce its energy consumption overall. Or, as Roscam Abbing puts it on the site’s open source guide to low-tech design, “Not in order to be able to ‘do more with the same,’ but rather ‘to do the same with less.’”

What makes the idea so powerful is that, by reducing the energy footprint of the site, the design also subtly improves the experience of the person reading it. Because it has no ads, relying instead on Patreon donors, the site has no cookies or third-party content to track visitors. It doesn’t profile readers. There are no pop-up boxes or dark patterns. Because it exists as a static site, each page downloads 10 times faster. The fact that it won’t be available sometimes forces readers to “plan” when they will access its content around the weather and the time of day, rather than deluging them with it at all hours.

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Credits : Lifehacker


Coding school App Academy has opened a free online interactive version of its 12-week curriculum. That’s a pretty good deal, since the Academy’s in-person classes in San Francisco and New York can cost as much as a semester in college. The online version involves less direct human interaction, but it includes online mentors and access to a community Slack chat.

At first glance, App Academy Open looks kind of like the popular free coding course Codecademy. An introductory course teaches basic coding concepts in a split-screen instruction interface and sandbox coding environment. Later lessons are structured as freeform assignments with text instructions, as the student works in their own development environment.

The major departure from Codecademy is in the curriculum. App Academy founder Kush Patel tells Lifehacker that while Codecademy is a good resource for all sorts of programming, App Academy Open is focused on “teaching folks web dev skills to get them a software engineering job.” (At the in-person school, tuition is tied to the student’s post-graduation salary.)

After an introduction to programming, an “alpha” course teaches concepts like arrays and debugging. The rest of the curriculum teaches the “full stack:” a course each in Ruby, SQL, Rails, Javascript, and React. Each course takes one or two weeks of full-time work.

The curriculum also covers a wide range of social issues in tech: outward-facing issues like algorithms that reinforce human bias and discrimination, and tech community issues like representation and exploitation of racial minorities, women, and LGBTQ people in the workplace. Rather than shunt these lessons into a separate module that students might ignore, App Academy laces them throughout its coding courses, presenting them as the essential career lessons that they are.

If you can commit to twelve weeks of challenging work without the pressure of tuition and in-person classes, then you’ll be getting thousands of dollars’ worth of practical coding education, built specifically to qualify you for a job in development, for free.

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