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How to be a great Engineer…

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Ok, so you have the knowledge and the experience but have you got what it takes to be a great engineer? What makes a great engineer you ask? Well if you look at the greatest engineers of all time, you will notice that they all shared common similarities. Apart from the obvious drive ambition, these remarkable engineers possessed a solid passion and an untiring desire for engineering. This is why Edison continued to go on after 1000 failures, why Ford pursued his idea while everybody else was satisfied with horse-drawn carriages and what led Leonardo Di Vinci being the biggest visionary of all time. What makes a great engineer is not just having specialist knowledge of a certain subject matter but also having the passion, drive and a “create the best the world has ever seen” type of attitude. By applying these qualities along with possessing the following attributes below you are on your way to becoming a great engineer.

Strong analytical aptitude: Great engineers show excellent analytical skills, are naturally inquisitive and are always thinking of ways to get things to work better.

Strong attention to detail: The slightest error can cause an entire project to fail. A great engineer will pay excellent attention to detail and will ensure that all details are reviewed thoroughly during the duration of a project.

Creative: A great engineer is creative and has to ability to think “outside the box” to come up with new and innovative ideas.

Excellent communication skills: A great engineer has excellent communication skills. They have to ability to explain complex technical terms and communicate effectively to clients and colleagues.

Team player: Great engineers know that they are working as part of a team to make one project come together successfully and, therefore, must work well as part of that team.

Continuously furthering their educating: Changes in industry happen rapidly. A great engineer keeps themselves up to date with these developments.

Logical thinker: The greatest engineers have superior logical skills. They have the ability to make sense of complicated systems and have a good understanding how things work and how problems arise.

Mathematically inclined: Engineering is a complex science that involves intricate calculations of varying difficulty. A great engineer has excellent math skills.

Problem solving skills: A great engineer has top notch problem solving skills. An engineer is called upon everyday to address problems. They must be able to figure out where the problem comes from and quickly arise to a solution.

Excellent technical knowledge: A great engineer ensures that they have a strong understanding of a wide range of computer systems and other systems that are frequently used during an engineering project.

Call For Innovative Engineering – The Remote Control needs To Go

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The remote control, back when we only had four channels to choose from, was the perfect way to interact with television. We had a power on/off switch, channel and volume buttons and—if you were really tech-savvy—a numeric keypad. No directional pad, settings buttons, RGBY buttons, or guide controls. They weren’t needed. Television sets were used to watch television programs, and the remote control was used to change from channel to channel. Easy.

Of course, that time of innocence for the television was over 30 years ago and things have moved on since then. The TV has evolved from a just a single screen into part of the home entertainment center, and again recently into a hub for the Internet. The number of channels has exploded from the initial half dozen to thousands of different options. You don’t even need to own a television to get your favourite TV shows anymore, thanks to options like BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu.

The evolution of the TV space has been rapid and extreme. And yet, like the humble tortoise, the remote control has grown bigger and bulkier but hasn’t actually evolved much at all.

By the television remote not evolving along with the screen, users the world over are forced to navigate alphanumeric keyboards or endless channel lists with single directional button presses, occasionally using the RGBY buttons to speed (and I use the term loosely) past that odd point of inconvenience, only to run into another brick wall. Add to this the sheer number of different remotes that users now have to get used to with every new set top box, TV or even Blu-ray player, and you can see there’s a problem.

Televisions remain generally underpowered screens, and the sole point of interaction we have for them is woefully out of date and completely unstandardized.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Media streaming devices like Roku, Apple TV and Google Chromecast—even the Xbox One—have effectively supercharged the television set, allowing for swift navigation through complex menus and quick access to content. They have also effectively begun redesigning the remote control, jettisoning the legion of buttons in favour of simple, slimmed-down schemas of interaction that actually adhere to a general standard of form and function. It’s a good start, but it can be taken much further.

Several companies are experimenting with a number of touchscreen alternatives to the remote by embedding controls for the television (or set-top box) into touchscreen devices like iPhones, iPads and Android devices, which are designed to display different sets of buttons depending on the situation and the user’s needs.

These remote control alternatives can be optimized for range of gestures and even voice commands from connected mobile devices, which allow users to effectively navigate menus, program guides and playback controls on dedicated devices quickly and efficiently, freeing them of the grind of the hundreds of individual button presses needed to enter an email address just to get to channel 800 in the EPG.

The remote control is not dead yet—although I wish it were so—but the remote has survived because people are simply used to using it. It’s become part of one’s natural behavior when interacting with a television.

For users that grew up with TV being a new form of entertainment, the remote control was always a way of controlling the TV without having to get off the couch to change that channel on the set. Ask them if they would prefer to do that on a smartphone or tablet, and most of them will say no. They’re used to their remote control, they (mostly) understand it, and they have no interest in learning a new behaviour—especially when it involves having their mobile or tablet on them at all times in order to use their TV. Millennials may have no problem having their iPhone welded to their hand as they menu surf through their Apple TV, but their parents (mostly) do.

So what do we do? Do we just wait for this older generation of remote control-philes to die off? While the reality of the situation isn’t quite so dramatic, we really should consider the question of how to move forward past this particular point of inefficiency. The remote control has survived for a reason, and to replace it we need to understand how to make it better, not just newer.

I do not claim to have a perfect solution to the problem (I wouldn’t be sharing it publicly if I did), but there are some questions we need to work on answering:

What Are We Interacting With?

If it’s just a TV we’re talking about, devices used to supplement the experience are not yet powerful enough to handle linking to a second screen and performing the actions required in real-time. There are pauses, load times and limitations. Also, if the user only has a TV, it is unlikely they will be bothered enough to actually replace their remote control.

If it’s a set top box or something similar (like a tablet or smartphone), the media player can be tethered to the screen and controlled from anywhere in the room, saving the annoying need to always have an unobstructed line of sight between the user and the TV. Making things easier makes people more likely to use them.

Who Is Using The Device?

Is it a mother or father? A grandparent? A child? These users have distinct modes of using a remote control but all have similar needs: Controls need to be intuitive.

Gestures are great when you know what they are and how to use them, but it’s unlikely every end user will immediately know all of the bells and whistles right away. To this end, gesture-based controls need to be memorable, easy and—most importantly—enjoyable to use.

Give the user positive feedback when they perform an action, and they will want to perform it again. Do it enough times and they will remember the action for good. Using the technological flourishes afforded by touchscreen technology can create pleasingly intuitive experiences that everyone can enjoy. Ask a psychologist: Positive feedback works.

When Is The Device Going To Be Used?

The primary reason the remote control has lasted so long is because you can just pick it up and use it; tablets and smartphones need to be unlocked and apps need time to launch. This is a huge barrier, since it’s still easier to simply pick up the remote control and point it at the television.

To me, this obstacle lies at the core of why we’re not using our connected devices as our main remote controls just yet, even though they make interacting with what’s on screen much easier; they still require too many actions.

Ideally, one would be allowed to work the “remote” functionality on one’s mobile device even when it’s locked, so picking up the device and using it as a remote could be available at any time to any user. This, however, would require the changing of existing conventions and the bending of current rules—something device manufacturers and OS owners may initially be cold to. But just as playback controls for music can be surfaced on one’s phone or tablet lock screen, television controls could easily appear there, too.

These will not be easy roads to navigate—changing behaviour and establishing paradigms is a long, hard process that requires patience, investment, and finesse—but I firmly believe that if we remain committed and focused on the goal at hand, we can slay the ancient beast known as the remote control and welcome our old, much loved friend—the television—into the world of true interactivity

Top 10 Facts About Manufacturing in Australia

Top 10 Facts About Manufacturing in Australia

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Australia is one of the leading countries in the world, and there’s no stopping its booming domestic growth. While there are issues here and there when it comes to the economy, there’s no denying that manufacturing in Australia is as strong as ever:

1. Multiple Manufacturing Industries Received A Big Boost in the Early 2000’s

The textile, clothing and footwear industries, and the passenger motor vehicle industry received major funding from the government. The boost came at more than $1.1 Billion, which were intended to boost the manufacturing industry of Australia. Back then, manufacturing played as big as 48% of exports and 45% for Australian research and development in Australia’s economy.

2. Manufacturing Produces Jobs

Manufacturing in Australia is the sixth largest employer by industry in the country. It has a workforce of over 900,000, providing 8% of employment in the country. It also contributes with 6% to the GDP of Australia in 2015 – 2016.

3. Small Manufacturers Hire the Most

Small business jobs equate to more than medium and large businesses combined, and were the type of business that was employing the most. In fact, almost 90% of employment was done by small businesses even if 43% of active manufacturing businesses were non-employing in the middle of 2016.

4. Manufacturing Exports are Massive

While there has been a slow down in many industries over the years, manufacturing included, its share of exports has been going up since the start of 2014. Currently, mining is the only industry that has more exports than manufacturing does. Manufacturing represented 32.2% of the value of Australia’s exports in 2015.

5. Australia is Pushing for Advancements

Around $440 million of the $2.65 billion supporting national priorities are put into “Advanced Manufacturing Priority” area. Australia is making this huge investments with the goal of conducting high quality research into robotics automation and simulation capabilities, big data and data mining, additive manufacturing, advanced materials and more.

6. Australia Needs to Push for More Manufacturing Research Regardless

In 2011, Australia only spent 0.227% of its GDP for research in the manufacturing industry – less than a quarter of a percent. By comparison, the United States spends 1.29% while Germany is at 1.33% – between 5 to 6 times more than the land down under.

7. Aussies Just Lost the Top 3 Car Producers in the Country

In less than two years, between 2016 until 2017, three mass production automobile companies have pulled from Australia. First, Ford stopped production in 2016, followed by Holden and Toyota in 2017.

8. Australia Ranks 2nd as Problem Solvers in the World

Despite its issues, the OECD Skills Outlook report in 2013 rated Australia as second only to Norway on complex problem solving methods. This is ranked higher than many vanguards in the manufacturing industry like US, UK, India, China and Japan.

9. Investments in the Industry Peaked More Than a Decade Ago

Real investment in manufacturing in Australia was at its peak with $14.4 billion in 2005 – 2006 and in the following years it was around the same numbers. The first big drop in investments occurred between 2011-12 and 2012-13.

In that period, investments reached barely $9.5 billion. This was also the biggest annual drop ever recorded – a $3.7 billion difference. And one year later, the investments in manufacturing dropped as low as $8.8 billion – the lowest in 12 years.

10. Food is Australia’s Largest Manufactured Product

The largest manufacturers in Australia is the food and beverage industry. Some of the sectors with the largest output are meat and meat products, beverage and malt manufacturing, dairy products and sugar and confectionery manufacturing.

Why Companies Are Going Green

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Why Companies Are Going GreenWith the matter of environmental pollution is more and more becoming a critical issue in today’s society, it’s easy to see why companies are going green. Most companies around the world are gearing up to implement the innovative greener technologies to help in reducing pollution. With the increasingly high awareness among people and companies, there is a huge change in strategies and tools to bring new and green methodologies forward. And pollution being the major environmental issue should be avoided at all the costs. Hence, a number of companies are taking up new measures to go green and try contributing to build a greener earth with minimal environmental pollution.

The first ever industries who implemented green technologies and strategies are the insurance and the automobile companies. With the newest variety of hybrid and electric vehicles, the auto industries have brought a revolutionary change for the conventional motor vehicles. These vehicles not only emit less carbon compounds, but also address the major environmental issue of air pollution. Additionally, the insurance companies offer better schemes with good premiums so that the consumers will opt for these eco-friendly cars and vehicles.

The major reason behind these changes of strategies and technologies is to reduce the environment pollution and degradation. As per the surveys, a major part of air pollution comes from the automobile and vehicular pollution. Hence, by choosing a vehicle with greener technology, the possibility of air pollution can be avoided. In addition, the usage of non-renewable energy source is reduced when the consumers prefer for electric vehicles and eco-friendly cars. All in all, it will result in reduction of pollution and saving of energy.

Corporate are also seen bringing some changes in their strategies and technology in order to go green. They are implementing energy saving options by choosing low-watt fluorescent lighting in their companies. Also these companies promote no-paper usage on floor and near the hand-wash area. The hospitality industry is also not far behind; with several new methods to go green, these industries promote recycling, energy saving and water saving. A number of top hotels and resort groups have already implemented green technologies in order to save earth and promote environment safety measures.