Business and Technology News from NUS

Month: January 2019

Home Design Businesses Taking Centre Stage in 2019


We may not necessarily realise it, but design is all around us. We are constantly actioning design concepts and choices in our lives. Whether it be the decision to choose and send flowers, buy a new shirt, listen to our favourite song in the car, or read our favourite book in the bath, we are constantly designing our live, picking and choosing the accents that appeal to us most, that we want to incorporate into the grand design of our whole lives. The greatest design concept? Our homes. Our homes are our personal living space, we spend our down time there, we want them to be material expressions of our personal design preferences.

Every year, home design trends rise and fall out of the limelight, and 2019 is no different. This year, as it happens every year, has seen the fall out of some of 2018’s most loved designs. And again, as it happens every year, there has been a whole new arsenal of home design winners to slot into their place. The nature of the home design landscape is that it is always moving, forever introducing the next great innovation to the world. This year, it is all about taking inspiration from the natural world. There three design concepts that are trending for 2019 are bold, brave, exciting, and stunning.

Living coral

Pantone named ‘living coral’ as its chosen colour of the year this year, and ever since it has been the trend that has picked up more and more traction, becoming a fan favourite. The pinky-orange colour has been carefully curated to mimic that of thriving ocean coral, and it is the perfect balance of bright vibrancy and natural glory. Best used in collaboration with colours like navy blue, pinks, and crisp white tones, living coral is the pick of 2019’s top three that is most likely to outlive its year in the limelight. A vibrant colour statement, it is not difficult to understand why this colour choice has captured the world’s attention.

Organic shapes

Last year, we saw botanic tones and vibrant wallpapers featuring flora come into play again. These are slowly fading out (especially the bold plant prints), or at the very least being utilised in heavy collaboration with organic shapes. From vases in flowing, irregular shapes, to coffee tables made of natural driftwood and curve-edged glass, organic shapes are all the rage right now. Our plight to live more sustainably has spilled into every aspect of our lives, including our design process.

Dripping gold

For the last few years in the realm of home design, matte black finishes and warm coppers have been the big claims to fame when it comes to tapware in the home. This year, however, gold is making a comeback – and not only in bathroom fixtures. The introduction of these truer golds brings a sophisticated, timeless, and fresh perspective of any room in the home. These crisp shining pieces often look like stunning art installations as well, making them unique and multifunctional.

Switching to a New Web Host


In an ideal world, we would all have web hosts to keep our websites running smoothly with no mishaps and all at an affordable price. But life, as we know it, is not perfectly ideal and there might be a chance that the web host that once served you well doesn’t cut it anymore.

While it might seem easier for you to just stick it out and stay with the same host, the better option is to make the switch. Furthermore, if you are questioning your web host, it is likely that you actually need to do it.

If you are having some doubts but are not entirely sure whether making the call to switch to a new host is right, keep an eye out for the following signs. If these signs start troubling you, it’s about time you look for a new web host.

Failing Customer Support

Customer support is one of the bare minimum offerings that any web host must provide. If your web host has no ticketing system and your emails go unanswered for days or weeks, it will only impact your website performance. You want to make sure that the host has a 24/7 customer service available and a ticketing system where tickets are resolved as soon as possible.

Outdated PHP Support

Currently, PHP’s 7.0.32 version is the latest one used. If you are ready to use this latest version of scripting language, your web host should be able to support it. And if the host isn’t able to provide you with proper support, it’s time you look for one that does as it improves your website performance significantly.

Consistent Downtime

Even though there is no guarantee of having uptime 100% of the time, continuous or regular downtime is not a good sign. With an efficient web host, you can expect at least 99% uptime on a live and responsive website. But if you face the contrary situation, move on to a host that provides the bare minimum.

Breach in Security

Unfortunately, there are a handful of website owners that have had their sites hacked. You can lose complete control over your website or have files missing or corrupted. This can seriously implicate your brand image. So find a host that makes security a priority and follows through a checklist to ensure it.

Trailing Performance

Long loading time and slow performance can be the downfall of a website. Poor response time not only affects the website ranking on Google but it also fends off visitors. After making sure that a plug-in or stack configuration is not the issue for the slow performance, look for another host that offers better performance.

Unsatisfactory Performance during Traffic Overload

Peaks in traffic are a sign that your website is doing good. But they can become a problem as they slow down the website, sometimes crashing it completely. If this happens, the site has to be reset and then made live. While this downtime is pretty normal when handled swiftly, a lengthy downtime can become a problem. If this happens often, you might not only need a new web host, but you might need a new website altogether – and going with the best custom web design company is a viable solution to your problem.

With all that said – if any of these signs start showing up, switching to a new web host is the right decision to make.

Why Does C Programming Still Work In The World

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Numerous C projects that exist in the current times were actually started years ago. For example, development of the UNIX operating system began in 1969, however, in 1972, the C language was designed to migrate the UNIX kernel code to a higher level language from the assembly, allowing developers to carry out the same tasks with less code. In 1972, the code for UNIX was rewritten using C. Similarly, the development of Oracle, the most popular database in the world, started in 1977, however, in 1983, its code was rewritten to C from the assembly.

Despite the predominance of higher-level languages, C has withstood the test of time to empower the world in the following ways:

The kernel of the world’s most used operating system, Microsoft Windows, is mostly written in C, with a few sections drafted in the assembly language. Similarly, the Linux kernel that’s used by 97% of the 500 most powerful supercomputers worldwide, was also developed using C. Every driver and program in a Mac runs on a C language powered kernel (OS X). Not only this, the smartphones you use in your day-to-day life, whether they work on iOS, Windows or  Android, also rely heavily on C for operation.

Similar to the Oracle, databases like MySQL, MS SQL Server, and PostgreSQL that are actively used in entertainment, finance, retail, education, health and telecommunications are written in C and C++. The applications used to create the 3D-effect in movies also use C and C++ to handle huge amounts of data and perform multiple calculations per second. When artists use C, they spend less time on getting the perfect shot, which not only saves money but also results in higher efficiency.

C has gradually made its way into pretty much any and every object you use. All embedded systems, from your alarm clock, coffee maker and car to the TV, radio and remote-controlled garage door, C has undoubtedly established a monopoly on both big and small objects that you come in contact with. Owing to its flexibility, closeness to the hardware, and performance, the language has allowed developers to be more productive regardless of what they’re working on.

Since C is as close to the machine as possible, it’s often considered a portable assembly language that’s available universally for processor architectures that are currently in use. Nowadays, most systems work with highly optimized binaries that are produced by modern-day compilers, making it difficult to improve your output with the hand-written assembly language. The primary implementations of a lot of interpreted languages such as Python, PHP and Ruby are written in C. In fact, most compilers use C to ensure effective communication between other languages and the machine.

Lastly, C has become a lingua franca for developers. “C is a great language for expressing common ideas in programming in a way that most people are comfortable with,” explains Alex Allain, Manager of Dropbox Engineering, “Moreover, a lot of the principles used in C – for instance, argc and argv for command line parameters, as well as loop constructs and variable types – will show up in a lot of other languages you learn so you’ll be able to talk to people even if they don’t know C in a way that’s common to both of you.”

If you’re an aspiring developer looking to master a language that’s always going to be in demand, C is a great option. You can also take various C programming tests online to perfect your understanding of basic concepts.

The Impact of a Psychometric Test On Recruitment


Psychometric tests are an important aspect of recruitment and allow a company to identify the right individuals for the corporation. Recruitment, being an essential process in the growth of the company, has to be well defined and analytical in order to choose the best candidates for the firm. Over the years, recruitment processes have changed and developed in order to adjust to different company sizes, values, and roles. Through technology, recruitment has become more fact-based and reliable. Many different companies choose to select individuals through interviews, group discussions, tasks, and now more than ever by using a psychometric test. These different steps in recruitment allow companies to choose candidates that understand the organization and its goals as there is usually a set criterion that defines the best candidates. Although psychometric tests do not contain right or wrong answers, they allow companies to group individuals through their personality and logical reasoning. Many believe that psychometric tests should be an important aspect of the recruitment process, however, it cannot be the main aspect of it. Hence, it is necessary to conduct interviews in order to fully understand the individual alongside other required assessments and tasks for the role. There are however many ways in which psychometric tests affect the recruitment process, especially for leadership and managerial roles.

Psychometric tests are used in order to determine the personality, interests, logical reasoning and sometimes the overall aptitude of an individual. These aspects of a psychometric test allow the identification of the group of appropriate candidates that will best fit the required role in the company. Psychometric tests demonstrate qualities of an individual that one might not be completely honest about in an interview. For example, if one is asked whether or not one is a team worker, an important aspect in most roles, individuals will answer positively. However, the phrasing of psychometric tests is different and demonstrates the ways in which an individual would react in certain situations. Moreover, psychometricians who are hired to analyze the tests can be certain whether or not an individual has answered honestly by assessing the rest of the test. In the recruitment process, psychometric tests also allow human resources professionals to objectively compare different individuals for a role. The professional that assesses these tests has an understanding of the required qualities of the candidate, the professional understands the values of the company and the challenges an individual will face in the position. Therefore, the assessor can correctly identify the appropriate candidates through this knowledge and the psychometric test.

The impact psychometric tests have on the recruitment process depends on many different factors including the type of role the company is assessing for, the company size, and the other steps that the recruitment process includes. Overall, it is an easy way to compare different individuals and determine which type of personalities fit better in different roles and thereafter grouping individuals more strategically. This objectivity in choosing candidates through psychometric tests also allows companies to be less biased and choose the right individuals for each role. In many organizations, psychometric testing works alongside interviews and interviews form an important part of the decision making. Each step in the recruitment process focuses on a different understanding of the candidate and impacts the process according to the prioritized values and responsibilities of a candidate. In roles that require leadership, problem-solving, and management psychometric tests can greatly impact the hiring process in identifying these qualities in individuals.

Live Vs Auto: The Better Proctoring?


The popularity of massive open online courses (MOOCs) and other forms of online education is at its peak. Assessment and proctoring policies and practices are central to online education and efficient proctoring is the stepping stone to the next stage in education. There are 2 kinds of proctoring, viz human proctoring (live or remote) and auto proctoring (remote).

Human (live) proctoring is currently the commonest approach to test taking. The test candidate either visits the examination center or takes the exam at his own location, during which he is monitored visually and acoustically by a live proctor, by means of a webcam. A live proctor is a human person that oversees an exam and is physically present in the same room as the candidate. Online remote proctoring is also a human person who oversees an exam, but does so by monitoring the candidate from a remote location with the help of an online video camera. Both the remote proctor and student are connected over a high-speed internet and interact through the use of VOIP. In some cases, the remote proctor could well be an automated monitoring technology. In the absence of a live person, the auto remote proctor services come in the form of fully automated cloud-based monitoring technology, eliminating both schedule and location constraints, and the need for human reviewers.

What is Live Online Proctoring?

In a ive proctored exam, the candidates take the online test from their home or any quiet and distraction-free location. A live proctor closely authenticates a candidate identity, and monitors and records the candidate’s behavior in a real-time exam situation. The proctors have the power to terminate an exam if they notice aberrant behavior. The audio and video of the candidates and their computer systems and screens are also recorded for review purposes. A proctoring service provider typically has proctors operating from a single location and each proctor may be monitoring up to 16 candidates at a time.

Automated Proctoring

Automated proctoring is the most advanced form of proctoring. It makes use of software, instead of human beings, to detect instances of examination fraud. It employs face recognition to do student authentication. Automated proctoring detects any unnecessary software and the presence of another person in the room. It records the audio-video and screen feeds of the candidates during the test for the purpose of a future review, if necessary. It also monitors the feeds with advanced video and audio for signs of any suspicious activity. Moreover, automated proctoring ensures that the candidate is focused on the test screen and there is enough light in the room.

To conclude, auto proctoring is set to become the mainstay for online assessments. And with developments pointing to the use of biometric devices such as smart watches and facial recognition, keyboard behavior analysis and sound recognition and touch-screen behavior analysis, auto proctoring appears to have a rosy future

Cloud Computing – The Next Step In Transforming Businesses


Cloud computing offers a range of solutions for all business across industries, sectors and sizes. A study conducted last year among small and medium enterprises generating annual revenue less than USD 100 million in the US revealed that as many as 62 per cent them were using the technology, while 33 per cent were either considering implementing it or studying how to harness its benefits for their companies.

The popularity of cloud computing comes as no surprise because it offers a range of benefits for remarkably reduced costs. Experts have gone on to predict that this technology is already the most important trend in the entire history of Information Technology (IT) services. IT employers now seek candidates with strong cloud skills, such as AWS skill set. The following are the top five reasons why cloud computing solutions are poised to change the way businesses operate:

  1. Scale to need solutions

The cloud computing service provider can design a solution to match a company’s needs. Especially for small businesses, this feature comes as a boon because such companies have to use their financial resources judiciously. Those days are gone when a company had to pay for substantial local server space. The larger businesses benefit from such scalability too. Cloud solutions providers offer a whole range of new applications that add value to customers of such companies.

  1. Ease of collaboration

Companies are increasingly adopting remote work practices. Cloud platforms offer greater ease of collaboration than traditional document methods. Teams can access the same document, make changes and track them at the same time even if they are working from different geographical locations. A study has revealed that the number of remote professionals increased from 9 per cent in 1995 to 37 per cent in 2015. This growth can easily be linked to the adoption of cloud technology by many businesses across the globe, especially in the last decade.

  1. Improved productivity

Cloud computing significantly reduces the downtime that crops up due to IT issues. Cloud service providers have resources and dedicated teams to make sure that their products perform as smoothly as possible. Even if some problem occurs, they ensure that the response is immediate and effective. As a result, even the in-house IT department can spend more time to focus on long-term strategic goals, instead of day-to-day issues.

  1. Integration with existing systems

One of the biggest reason why cloud computing is poised to transform the way businesses function is that is designed to integrate with existing systems that employees are generally comfortable in using. The staff can switch between devices seamlessly without having to worry about manually transferring essential data from one device to another, which, needless to add, is always an error-prone and time-consuming task.

  1. Data Safety

No matter what the size of the company is, the threat of data breach always looms large over any business. Thankfully, data security is the most prominent advantage offered by this technology. It came out in a survey that companies that had adopted cloud services no longer felt the need to be worried about their data security.

VPN is First Defence Against Threats to Cybersecurity


The more that we have invested into online presence, the more important it has become for us to safeguard our information in the digital landscape. Our ever-increasing reliance on the digital landscape to provide us with unadulterated access to the whole world through a device screen, has resulted in the necessity of cybersecurity measures to keep our activities online private and secure. Every time we type something into Google, enter a password for a website, or even just browse through the worldwide web, we are essentially embedding more of our digital selves into the digital landscape at hand.

So, it goes without saying that we must be taking active and ongoing measures to protect ourselves online. Cybersecurity is a genuine issue, and one that must be taken seriously always. The first defence against threats to cybersecurity is the use of a VPN (virtual private network). The question: “how does a VPN work?” is not an uncommon one. In short, a VPN allows an individual to create a secure connection to other networks over the internet. The VPN shields the user’s browsing activity, their location, and their access to otherwise-restricted websites.

VPNs are becoming more and more popular in this digital age, and it is not at all difficult to understand exactly why that is. In this modern age, data is the digital equivalent to a fingerprint. Because every time we do something online, we are integrating more of ourselves into the digital landscape at hand, we are becoming increasingly aware (and about time, too) that our insistence on being active and present online always also inevitably results in more potential for risk. The magic in a VPN is that it effectively puts up a virtual shield that protects the user from outside interference.

This is especially important when one considers the fact that the digital landscape that VPNs navigate is practically global, meaning that there is no shortage of potential threats to cybersecurity. With so much potential for access, there is certainly just as much – if not more – potential for threats to find their way in amongst the cracks. It is practically impossible to be 100% secure online, but the VPN is the best way to secure ourselves as tightly as possible. At every turn, every click, there is the potential for risk. We should be doing all we can, all the time, to prevent or minimise that risk as best we can (at the very least).

Data protection should always be top of the mind for everyone, any time they are browsing online or using a new website for the first time. But human nature ensures that it isn’t – we just want to get things done. One of the biggest failings of privacy law online is that it puts too much accountability on the shoulders of the individuals using the system, in an environment where they do not understand the risks well enough, or are unwilling to go out of their way to understand them.

University Students Increase Their Data Privacy Measures on Campus


The rise of certain technological advancement has come hand in hand with an innate understanding that technological disruption would find its way into the academic industry the world over. And it has. Thanks to technology, the education sector is ripe with digital revolutions and tech investments, making learning and teaching easier for individuals who are part of the education system and those who are going through the education system. When they first step foot on campus, many students are excited and largely – if not completely – unaware of the importance and the measures of privacy they are going to have to take to ensure their personal information and data stays private.

Because of technology’s rise in the global academic industry, students and teachers alike have been using digital versions of traditional learning and teaching ideals more and more. For example, lectures are recorded now, and students can watch them at their leisure. Textbooks and assessment submissions have gone digital. Students have course portals that are primarily – if not solely – centred online through the university website. All this increased use of technology means that more of their data is online than ever before. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it also means that students are beginning to (thankfully) take more active measures to ensure their private data remains private.

Fresh faced and excited for the journey ahead, many new students do not know the definition of a VPN, much less what it can do to help them protect themselves on their devices and online. As if this was not enough of a task, students are at risk of their information being passed on to other parties from the very universities that they attend. It may not all be intentional, but the lack of protection universities can offer their students when they are not on campus is a crucial point. The data collected by universities can be shown or shared with other parties. What this means is that students have little to no understanding of how far their personal information could be travelling. Becoming more aware of this, students are installing tech innovations like VPNs and cybersecurity software to protect themselves more easily and more securely.

The increased use of technology has been life-changing for us, but it has also come with its downfalls – increased risk of disruptions and invasions of digital privacy being one of them. University students are among the most at risk individuals in the world, owing to the fact that universities are a wealth of digital knowledge now, and hackers and third parties have more opportunity to take active advantage of this than ever before. Students have noticed this, and are going to more of an effort to protect themselves via all technological inputs. The rise of technology has come with a rise of awareness and insight into why it is so important to protect ourselves and our digital presences. University students more than anyone else, arguably, are privy to this realisation and have taken active steps to ensure their security.


The Basics of Marketing and the Role of the Modern Marketer


Time passes and the fundamentals of modern marketing are changing. About 100 years ago, a business had absolute power over marketers. Companies could do whatever they wanted as they played a major role.  They owned everything that allowed them to create a product. They were the masters of the situation. Marketers were only links of this chain. The share of marketing accounted for no more than 3-5% of the contribution to the ultimate success.

Production-oriented marketing 1.0 dominated. Marketers were actually service personnel for engineers, designers, technologists, and even workers. Any worker who created a product was more important than the marketer.

The Role of a Marketer

Today, more and more students want to be marketers. Everyone knows that to become an expert in this sphere, it is necessary to practice much. It’s possible by getting help of professionals of editing and proofreading –  it will be easy to work and study. It is not surprising. The share of marketing contribution to business success has grown:

  • In the second half of the 20th century, its share was already about 50%.
  • The position of a marketer has strengthened. Consumers needed not just a product but a product that suited them best. Consumers began to need not just cars, but sports cars, limousines, SUVs. Only marketers knew what they needed.
  • Anyone who did not take into account the opinion of marketers produced a product that was not of demand.
  • Marketing has become a major business process. The rest of the business processes only served it. Many companies became bankrupt because they ignored marketers.

The Era of Marketing 3.0

The relationship between business and marketers reached the apogee in XX – XXI. In many industries, the share of marketing was 75-80%. Marketers have got a key advantage over the company as a whole. Without marketing, production and the whole company became unnecessary. If earlier the “money-commodity-money” scheme worked, then the “money-demand-goods-money” scheme began to work. As a result, marketing has become independent.

The changes associated with the transition to the era of marketing 3.0 will touch everyone. Only companies that know the basics of modern marketing will survive. For example, the legend of the mobile phone market Nokia had to leave. It was able to return to the market only after a reboot.

You can become a victim of marketing 3.0 or you can master it and be among the winners. In China, there is still a dominance of the epoch characteristic of marketing 1.0 and 2.0. As soon as China begins to move into an era of marketing 3.0, only companies that switch to marketing 3.0 will survive. The list of companies that have already been affected by the change is quite large.

Ideas Are the Basics of Modern Marketing

The fundamentals of modern marketing are ideas. Before, marketing was based on studying and meeting the needs. Now marketing is based on what creates needs and requirements. Ideas that are embedded in people create their needs and requirements. Ideas turn people into consumers.

A company should know how to generate interesting ideas. Otherwise, it won’t be able to attract consumers. Products and services in the modern world are just ways to realize ideas. Marketers play the role of generators and implementers of ideas.

Only marketers who know the basics of modern marketing can create demand. If there is no demand for the company’s products, it will not be able to sell well. There are two ways to master modern marketing. Marketers should read marketing articles and get expert advice.


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