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One of the perils of toiling in high tech is that you’re working in a world of constant change. By definition, IT changes every couple years as businesses roll out upgraded (or totally new) infrastructures.

The challenge is huge for tech professionals who need to keep up with relentless change. Staying employed in an environment in which the rules of the road are continually rewritten requires foresight. When’s the next curve coming my way?

To provide some clue as to what the IT job landscape will look in a few years downstream, Datamation spoke with Gartner analyst Diane Morello. Morello is the author of The IT Professional Outlook: Where Will We Go From Here?. The study looks at the tech workplace through 2010, forecasting key developments that will profoundly affect IT personnel.

Among the report’s many findings are these five projections:

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1) By 2010, six out of ten people affiliated with the IT organization will assume business-facing roles.

Currently this figure is about three out of ten. Yet the percentage of IT workers who will be required to be business savvy is inarguably headed upward.

“What we’re seeing is that the roles tend to be around business relationship management, or business analyst roles,” Morello says. There’s a greater degree of interaction with business staffers that will be expected of tech personal. The IT worker who’s strictly focused on technology is going to be a rarer bird.

So this change is already well underway. “In many of the companies that we talk to, there’s a clear demand from the business that the IT organization become more business savvy.”

(On the other hand – and this will surprise no IT staffer – “There’s also kind of a subversive demand within IT organizations that businesses become more IT savvy.”)

2) Through 2010, 30 percent of top technology performers will migrate to IT vendors and IT service providers.

There are two large employers of tech workers: 1) IT vendors/service providers, and 2) companies that use technology. Currently, the overwhelming majority of IT workers work for this second group.

But many companies that merely use technology – but aren’t actually in a tech-specific industry – will downsize their tech departments. More and more, they’ll hire as-needed contract workers from IT outsourcers for many of their technical needs, keeping only the most essential tech workers on staff. Companies will require their remaining IT workers to be (as mentioned above) heavily business-focused.

Hence, for those IT pros who don’t want to delve into business, the service providers are the place to find a job.

“For those people who want to pursue continually detailed technology and don’t really care about all the contextual issues about business, they might find that they’re perfect candidates for the vendors and providers,” Morello says.

3) By 2010, IT organizations in midsize and large companies will be at least 30% smaller than they were in 2005.

As noted above, many companies will outsource a percentage of their IT divisions. Additionally, one other powerful factor will drive the miniaturization of IT departments: automation. The daily tasks of certain IT workers will be lessened by automation software, requiring fewer workers to maintain the infrastructure.

“So what you’ll find is a lot of the work that’s occupying people now will disappear or get absorbed by some of the tools and technologies,” Morello says.

The impact could be enormous. “Some of my peers in the data center area anticipate that the automated data center of 10 or 15 years from now will occupy maybe 50% of the people it does right now.”

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The Best Tips For A Successful It

The IT industry is booming. The desire to be one’s boss and to determine the direction of one’s activities is what drives many IT specialists and is the foundation on which a start-up is built. Before business ideas become a business concept and later a business, there are still some considerations to be made and preparations to be made. In the first place, there are considerations about the funding goal, the target group, the business model, and the form of founding. 

If you want to earn your money in the IT industry, you are choosing an innovation-driven, forward-looking, and growing industry. These tips will help potential IT startup founders move from initial considerations to the planning phase and implementation. 

Think about the idea and get feedback

Certainly, there is a risk that an idea will be stolen and implemented by another potential founder. It is not important if your project is about software development of pokie games or cloud computing projects for the industry. But if you don’t talk about your thoughts, you won’t get feedback and you run a high risk of founding past the needs of the market. To get off to a successful start with the IT start-up from the beginning, the idea should not be quietly brought to maturity but presented to a broad target audience. Are the business model and the product well received? Then nothing stands in the way of founding a company. 

Make target group research

No company meets the tastes and demands of every possible customer. Who is the target group and what are their needs? A little field research pays off and prevents overlooking the most important link in the company, the customer, in your business planning. Concrete definitions and comprehensive knowledge of the professional status, hobbies and preferences of the target customers are a stable basis for the start-up and for the next step on the way to becoming an IT start-up.

Try to take a perspective from the customer’s point of view

It is a fact that a large part of all decisions is made on an emotional basis. This also applies to the use of a service or the purchase of a product. What problem does the potential customer have and how can it be solved? How will his life change after the problem has been solved, and what added value will he benefit from? Ultimately, it is the task of the IT start-up to put itself in the customer’s shoes and, along the way, to find the right words and encourage the emotional decision.

Take a look at the actual product Finding a suitable pricing model

The plausible presentation of the price is an important success multiplier. However, many founders are uncomfortable with naming the price. But here it is important to keep in mind that the cost indicated is an important decision criterion for the potential customer. To run a liquid start-up and at the same time choose a customer-friendly pricing model, there is a whole range of methods for determining prices.

Think about how to attract customers

After all, hurdles have been overcome and the website is online, it’s all about visibility. If you can’t be found, you can’t sell services or attract customers. Even before the actual launch, founders should invest in targeted marketing and develop a sophisticated marketing strategy. A good ranking on Google and other search engines ensures that the first order is not long in coming.

However, anyone who wants to find a start-up in the industry of the future can implement their project in various ways. A guide on starting an IT company can be helpful in the initial phase. And passion for developing one’s ideas and a willingness to experiment are basics that are indispensable in IT.  For funding your start-up, the desire to make decisions should be a matter of the heart. The desire for freedom and the willingness to do extra work are also basics without which starting your own business cannot be crowned with success. Add to this a high degree of personal responsibility and the ability to see mistakes not as a step backward, but as motivation for a new attempt, and nothing is standing in the way of founding an IT start-up.

Distance Learning Through It And Mass Media

With the pandemic, people were secluded to the four walls of their homes, and education, like other domains, largely turned online. IT and mass media provided a unique getaway, enabling students to learn and gain relevant knowledge and experiences easily. Many people have expressed that distance learning can be sub-optimal compared to in-person courses. Nevertheless, it offers its benefits.

Distance Learning

A type of education known as distance learning enables students to study at a distance, usually with the aid of technology like computers, the internet, and online learning environments. Students who cannot attend conventional in-person classes owing to geographical, budgetary, or other restrictions may find it a valuable alternative. IT (information technology) and mass media, including television, radio, and the internet, are commonly used to deliver distance learning. These tools help teachers communicate with students and collaborate by enabling them to get lectures, readings, and other educational resources from educators remotely.

Contribution of IT

Information technology (IT) uses computers and other digital devices to store, process, and transmit information. IT is critical in many aspects of modern life, including education, business, healthcare, and communication. It can facilitate various activities, such as creating and sharing documents, conducting research, communicating with others, and analyzing data.

Information technology (IT) can be an essential component of distance learning, as it enables remote delivery and access to educational materials and resources. Some of the ways that IT can aid distance learning include −

Online Platforms − IT can be used to develop and deliver distance learning programs through online platforms, such as learning management systems (LMS) or virtual classrooms. These platforms can provide students access to lectures, readings, quizzes, and other course materials and facilitate communication and collaboration between students and teachers.

Digital Resources − IT can provide students with access to a wide range of digital resources, such as e-books, articles, and videos, which can be used to supplement traditional course materials.

Mobile Access − IT can enable students to access course materials and participate in discussions from various devices, such as laptops, tablets, or smartphones, which can be particularly useful for those who are on the go or do not have access to a desktop computer.

Virtual Labs and Simulations − IT can be used to create virtual labs and simulations, providing students with hands-on learning experiences in fields that might require specialized equipment or facilities.

Contribution of Mass Media

Mass media refers to the various means of communication that reach a large audience through mass communication channels, such as television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and the internet. Mass media plays a significant role in shaping public opinion and influencing cultural norms and values, and it can deliver information, entertainment, and education to a wide audience. Mass media, such as television, radio, and the internet, can be useful tools for delivering distance learning programs. Some of the ways that mass media can aid distance learning include−

Transmitting Lectures and Course Materials − Mass media can transmit lectures, readings, and other course materials to students at a distance, allowing them to access the same information as their in-person counterparts.

Facilitating Communication and Collaboration − Mass media can facilitate communication between students and teachers, allowing for the exchange of ideas and feedback even when students are not physically present in the same location.

Providing Access to a Wider Range of Resources − Mass media can provide students with access to a wider range of resources and experts, such as guest lectures or panel discussions, that might not be available in a traditional classroom setting.

Allowing for Flexibility and Convenience − Mass media can allow students to access course materials and participate in discussions at their convenience rather than being tied to a set schedule.

Pros of Distance Learning

There are several potential benefits to distance learning, including −

Flexibility − Distance learning allows students to study at their own pace and schedule, which can be particularly useful for those with busy or irregular schedules.

Convenience − Distance learning can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, making it a convenient option for those who live far from a college or university or cannot attend in-person classes for other reasons.

Cost − Distance learning programs may be less expensive than traditional in-person programs, as they often do not require students to pay for transportation, housing, or other costs associated with attending a physical campus.

Access to a wider range of resources − Distance learning programs offer access to a wider range of instructors, course materials, and resources than might be available at a local college or university.

Improved Retention − Some studies have found that students who participate in distance learning programs may have higher retention rates than those who attend traditional in-person classes, possibly due to the ability to review and revisit course material at their own pace.

Cons of Distance Learning

While distance learning can be a convenient and flexible way to access education, there are also potential drawbacks to consider, including −

Dependence on technology − Distance learning programs often rely heavily on technology, which can be a barrier for some students who need access to reliable internet connectivity or appropriate devices.

Self-motivation − Distance learning requires students to be self-motivated and disciplined to complete assignments and meet deadlines. This can be a challenge for some students who may benefit from the structure and accountability of in-person classes.

Limited opportunities for hands-on learning − Some subjects, such as the arts or certain technical fields, may require more work to learn effectively through distance learning, as they may require hands-on training or experience.

Limited access to resources − While distance learning programs may offer access to a wider range of resources, students may still need more access to certain resources and facilities, such as libraries, laboratories, or specialized equipment.

Conclusion

IT and mass media can facilitate the delivery of course materials, facilitate communication and collaboration between students and teachers, and provide access to a wide range of resources and experts. However, it is important for both students and educators to carefully consider the potential pros and cons of distance learning and ensure that students have access to reliable technology and internet connectivity to participate in and benefit from these programs fully. Overall, distance learning through IT and mass media can be a valuable and effective way to access education. However, it is important to consider how to best use these technologies to support student learning and engagement.

Five Lessons For Dangerous Living With Bill Gurstelle

I learned a lot of interesting scientific facts while writing Absinthe and Flamethrowers: Projects and Ruminations on the Art of Living Dangerously. Here are five ways to (safely) add a little danger to your life.

Absinthe & Flamethrowers

Projects and Ruminations on the Art of Living Dangerously. Amazon link.

Make Black Powder

To concoct this primitive form of gunpowder, just mix simple chemicals, like charcoal and saltpeter. Follow the recipe in my book, and the oxygen molecules in saltpeter will react with the sulfur in charcoal to unleash a torrent of energy, smoke and noise.

Eat Fugu

Every gastronome must someday dine on fugu sushi. Have an expert serve the delicate tiger pufferfish flesh. Some parts contain tetrodotoxin, a neurotoxin with no known antidote.

Crack a Whip

A whip transfers momentum from your arm to its tip, creating a thrilling mini sonic boom at 770 mph. Eye patches and novice whip-crackers go hand in hand, so be sure to wear goggles.

Build a Rocket

Nothing impresses a cute geek girl like building her a high-performance rocket out of stuff from your garage. All it takes is the proper mixture of fuel (granulated sugar) and oxidizer (tree-stump remover). Our own Theo Gray played with candy-powered rockets in a previous installment of Gray Matter. Check out his results here.

Construct a Flamethrower

A propane accumulator flame cannon is a relatively easy project—just make sure your pipe joints are tight, limit fuel pressure, and operate it at a steady level. Still, keep a fire extinguisher handy. After all, you can’t take on future challenges without all your fingers and toes.

Midjourney Tips For Beginners

With the launch of the latest version of Midjourney, we wanted to share some of the best Midjourney tips we have used to create some awesome images.

These tips and tricks are aimed at helping you get the most out of Midjourney.

We hope you can benefit from the countless hours we have spent tinkering in the Midjourney Discord.

Our first Midjourney tip might be obvious, but we feel it’s the most important.

But in order to get some truly amazing outputs, you really need to focus on being specific.

Start with a few simple words.

Then add or remove terms to adjust your prompt.

You really need to experiment with the model to understand how it interprets certain keywords.

Midjourney artist at work (Generated by Midjourney)

It’s impossible to know what terms impact your prompt if you start with too many.

If you’re really serious about leveling up your Midjourney skills, some users have suggested keeping a journal or notes document to track your progress.

This way, you’re not retrying the same prompts over and over again. There is an image generation credit limit in Midjourney, after all.

Let’s face it. Sometimes our vocabulary or descriptive abilities can be lacking.

This is where a prompt generator is perfect for helping you get started.

In another post, we covered the best Midjourney prompt generators.

Be sure to check these out if you’re interested in having AI spruce up your vision.

So far, we have found that ChatGPT and various prompt builder tools can really kickstart the creative process and help you discover new ways to use Midjourney.

By adding the –creative tag to your prompt, you can guide Midjourney toward outputting more unique or unusual images.

For example, you might notice a more vivid color palette or abstract design.

This is great for brainstorming new ideas or breaking away from that typical Midjourney “look”.

In order to use the –creative tag, you must also add –test of –testp.

The test tags offer variations for both digital art (–test) and photographs (–testp).

Midjourney creative test

Example: /imagine man playing soccer --test --creative

The –stylize, or –s, tag will encourage Midjourney to take additional creative liberty with your prompt.

The –stylize value ranges from 0 to 60,000. You will notice that the outputs blend landscape and human or animal faces together.

The higher the stylize value the more abstract your images will become.

Example: /imagine sea turtle --stylize 20000

Negative keywords are terms you do not want to appear in your image.

Negative keywords are also great for finetuning your image outputs.

For example, you can add –no trees to create a more open feel for a landscape image.

Example: /imagine woman posing for a portrai --no ugly asymmetrical

By adding a double colon (::) you can tell MidJourney to consider each term separately.

This is great for prompts that feature terms that can be mistakenly associated or separated like dragon fly, cup cake, or hot dog.

Related: AI Image Editor: Guide & Tools

By separating these terms into a multiprompt, hot dog becomes hot:: dog which is not a hot looking dog, rather than a tasty meal.

Keep in mind that commas are conceptual soft breaks, while double colons (::) are hard breaks.

Use both depending on how strictly you would like to separate certain concepts.

Using this double-colon (::) method again, we can place more or less importance on certain terms in your prompt.

For example, if you want to generate an image of a snowy mountain, maybe MidJourney will add just too much snow.

In this case, you can adjust the weight for the mountain to be higher than the snow or other features you have in mind, like ‘rocks’.

Example: /imagine mountain::5 snow::1 rocks::2

To take this a step further, you can also use negative prompts.

Say your output image is too ‘red’. Simply add the term red::-0.5 and you will notice the blues and yellows pop more.

By adding the –ar tag at the end of your prompt, you can tell MidJourney which image size your outputs should appear in.

We have found that –ar 16:9 is great for widescreen views of most content.

You can also use 2:3 for a more vertical view.

In the latest version of Midjourney, there is no longer a constraint as to which ratios you can use.

This is perfect for creative projects or tiling various images together.

You may have noticed hundreds of other users in the MidJourney Discord.

Everyone is spamming their prompt as you look in horror trying to find your own output.

The good news is that you can save yourself a lot of scrolling and eyestrain by sending a private DM to the MidJourney bot.

This makes it much easier to organize your image generations.

Another option is to invite the Midjourney Bot to a private Discord server.

This has the added bonus of allowing you to create separate channels to organize your image categories.

Remember, these images are still visible on Midjourney’s website, but you will definitely appreciate the less chaotic workspace.

Related: Midjourney Download: Access & Alternatives

If you type /settings into Midjourney, you will open the screen below.

Midjourney /settings command

This prevents you from having to add various tags to every prompt.

Instead of adding –v 5 every time, you can simply select it from the settings options.

The same goes for adjusting the quality or speed of your image generations.

Want to dig deeper into Midjourney?

If you’re in the mood for some further reading, check out their full user guide.

We hope you enjoyed these Midjourney tips and look forward to adding more as we continue our Midjourney… journey.

Rover Challenge 2010: University Teams Test Mars Rovers In Utah Desert

On Saturday, June 5, in the remote southeast Utah desert, a team of engineering students from Oregon State University emerged as the champion of the fourth annual University Rover Challenge (URC).

Competition events began on Friday morning, June 4, at two adjacent sites near the Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah. The “sample return mission” involved investigating sites that might have microbial life and bringing back a sample. At the second site, the “equipment servicing task” required rovers to flip switches, push buttons, and insert plugs into outlets.

Practice paid off for Oregon State, as its team had been practicing simulated tasks at home for the past several months, even going so far as to build their own mock-up panel for the servicing task. The team’s rover successfully flipped six switches, pushed one button, and plugged in one cord. Poland’s Magma Team and York University also managed to get through several switches and plugs on the servicing panel. Iowa State University’s rover navigated successfully to the panel, but the electronics that controlled its robotic arm burned out.

Day two of the event focused on the “emergency rescue task,” where teams were required to locate a distressed astronaut and deliver a supply packet. “We give them the last known coordinates of the astronaut, the general direction he was heading, and a maximum radius,” said Andrew Duncan, a volunteer for the Mars Society and a judge for the URC. Although the teams have 40 minutes to complete the task, they only earn the full 100 points if they finish in 20 minutes or less. Once again, Oregon State out-performed the other teams, finishing in a record time of just under four minutes. York University suffered a setback when its rover flipped while climbing steep terrain on the course.

Oregon team members said frustration with their performance in last year’s event motivated them to focus on working out the bugs in their systems. “We actually started designing this year’s rover in the van on the way back home from last year’s event,” said team captain Jonathan Doltar, a mechanical engineering student.

The team took first place in two of the four task challenges, earning a total 315 points, which put them a full 100 points ahead of the second and third place teams, York University and Poland’s Magma Team (Technical University of Bialystok and Nicolaus Copernicus University).

Other teams competing in the event were Brigham Young University, Iowa State University, University of Michigan, and University of Waterloo from Canada. Although 12 teams had registered for the event, funding and technical problems forced five teams to withdraw in the two weeks prior to the competition.

But regardless of financial resources, the time commitment for getting to the competition is significant — York University team member Jordan Bailey says their team’s captain took a reduced course load during the spring semester in order to lead the design and construction of the rover. “He was putting in 8-hour days regularly on the rover project — some days he would sleep in a lawn chair in the room where the rover was being built,” Bailey said. York’s team placed second in this year’s event and was the winner of the 2009 URC. “When you get here and see the rover actually working, it’s worth all the effort — even if you don’t take first place,” said Bailey.

The dry desert heat took a toll on several teams’ rovers. Both York University and Iowa State had problems with drivers over-heating, which cost them both time and points in competitions. “It’s a problem a lot of teams are having right now,” said an Oregon State team member on day two of the event. “You test your rover in a lab environment, but then you get out here and it’s a lot different in the desert heat.” Mid-day temperatures during the event hovered around 100° F. But Oregon had obviously learned this lesson from previous events — they improvised a cooling system by fastening reflective mylar tape to black components on the rover to prevent absorption of heat from the sun.

Poland’s Magma Team, which took third place in the overall competition, plans to use its rover as an educational tool in its home country. Students at schools in Poland will be able to control the rover remotely via the internet, gaining hands-on experience with robotics and remote-controlled space exploration vehicles.

York University’s Jordan Bailey says the idea of the URC competition is to look at problems that real rovers will face on Mars and figure out new solutions. “The hardware we use on these rovers is not space-rated — everything is basically stuff you can buy off the shelf,” he said. “But the solutions are the same, whether you use earth-based or space-based hardware. So if we figure out an innovative solution to a problem NASA is looking at, they can potentially use that — but with million-dollar space hardware instead of $1,000 equipment.”

Final results of the 2010 University Rover Challenge:

Oregon State University (315 points)

York University (209 points)

Magma Team, Poland (203 points)

For information about the 2011 URC, stay tuned to the event’s website.

University Rover Challenge

York University’s rover sets off on the “Sample Return Task,” which involved investigating sites that might have microbial life and bringing back a sample.

University Rover Challenge

Team members from Brigham Young University do a final check of their rover before starting one of the competition tasks on Friday, June 4.

University Rover Challenge

University Rover Challenge

Iowa State University’s team successfully navigated its rover out to the “Equipment Servicing Task” Panel on Friday. But shortly after its arrival, one of the rover’s drivers over-heated, making it impossible to complete the task. The objective of the task was to demonstrate the rover’s ability to complete an equipment repair via remote control.

University Rover Challenge

The Magma Team from Poland gets its rover ready to roll.

University Rover Challenge

The two competition sites for the University Rover Challenge were located near the Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station in the desert near Hanksville, Utah.

University Rover Challenge

The “Emergency Rescue Task” required that teams use coordinates to navigate their rovers to a distressed astronaut and deliver a supply package.

University Rover Challenge

York University’s rover flipped over after crossing a steep ridge during the emergency rescue task. According to the rules, if a team member had to touch their rover to correct a problem, the rover had to return to the start and begin again.

University Rover Challenge

Oregon State University’s champion rover.

University Rover Challenge

Oregon State University team member Florian Kapsenberg steers the rover from the team’s control station in the back of a U-Haul trailer.

University Rover Challenge

Oregon State University’s rover approaches the distressed astronaut, completing the task in a record 3 minutes, 38 seconds, and earning the total possible 100 points.

University Rover Challenge

The champion team from Oregon State University poses with its rover at the finish site of the emergency rescue task.

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