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Smart home security cam comes with facial recognition

With home security becoming more and more important, the need for home monitoring devices is on the rise. Netatmo’s Welcome is a great home security camera complete with facial recognition abilities.

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Home security is now smart

Home security has unfortunately become a necessity. Gone are the days where you could leave your front door unlocked and never worry about criminal activity. Now, we have fully monitored alarm systems, dead bolts, window locks, and outside motion sensors.

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But what exists leaves much to be desired. What if you need something to monitor your family and make sure they arrive home safely and remain where they are supposed to be? What if you’re looking for your smartwatch to tell you which kid is home, or that a stranger has been detected by cam?

What is Netatmo Welcome? It’s awesome, that’s what

This is where the Netatmo Welcome comes in. Netatmo Welcome is a completely self-contained, home security camera featuring facial recognition and no cloud connectivity needed. Plus, there are no subscription fees.

It’s sleek design and small size makes it easy to hide in plain sight. It almost looks like a speaker, honestly.

One thing to keep in mind – while it is self-contained, it does need a few things to be fully functional: constant power from a micro USB cable, your smartphone (to sync coverage), and a MicroSD card to store footage. Definitely nothing major, but the need for constant power may change where and how you place the device.

Ease of setup

Welcome is best aimed at a front door, or other main entry point into your home. Monitoring apps are available for both Android and iOS phones.

Once you’re ready to set it up, you’ll turn the Welcome upside down and enter your Wi-Fi information into the app. Once you’ve done this, the app will start to create a timeline of events, triggered by movement, and whether or not it has “seen” a face it recognizes.

Any time a “recognition” happens, you’ll receive a notification on your phone. This notification will either contain captured footage, or direct you to a live feed of the Welcome. There is a small delay, most users say a few seconds, from the time the activity is recorded to the time you receive a notification on your phone.

Our favorite part: Facial recognition

The main selling point of the Netatmo Welcome is its ability to memorize and recognize up to 16 different faces.

How does it do this? The learning process is a secret, but Netatmo states that it can take the device five times of seeing someone’s face before it can consistently recognize and identify them as a member of your family and not a stranger.

This can be a bit annoying in the beginning as you receive an alert when an “unknown” person is in your home. During the learning process this “unknown” may be your child. Once Welcome has learned the faces of your family, however, you won’t be plagued by those notifications.

One caveat with recognition: if the Welcome is placed in a dimly lit (or overly bright) room, it will have a hard time distinguishing faces, or so I’ve heard.

As it learns, it gets smarter

Obviously you need a bit of patience in the beginning with Welcome, but I find this to be true with a great deal of electronic devices, especially those that fit a particular niche. For example, if you have a busy home, with children, babysitters, and lots of coming and going,

Netatmo Welcome will offer you peace of mind, knowing everything is okay and everyone is where they are supposed to be. This is also useful if you want to keep a watchful eye on parents or caregivers without robbing them of their sense of independence.

A few drawbacks to keep in mind

While I have not tested the Netatmo Welcome myself, several other users have said it does come with a few drawbacks. For example, the Wi-Fi range of the device seems to be limited. The can make it difficult to place the device where it would be most useful. Also, there is no battery back-up built in to Welcome, so if you lose power, or an unscrupulous thief cuts the power to your home, the device will be of no use. Perhaps in a future version.

As previously stated, the facial recognition component of Welcome is said by some to be spotty, or take a while to fully recognize a member of your family. This could lead to unnecessary notifications and alarm, but there is a learning curve with almost all new technological devices. Also, as all recorded video is stored on the MicroSD card, if someone happens to break in and steal the Welcome, all recorded and stored video will go with it.

Even though Welcome has a few potential drawbacks, it has several clear advantages as well: Its small size, facial recognition, and ability to hide in plain sight are excellent reasons to give Welcome a trial run.

#NetatmoWelcome

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Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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The semantic argument of the phrase ‘Full Stack’

(TECH NEWS) As the tech industry knows, being able to classify your job qualifications is paramount.

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Semantics

A new debate is emerging in the web development world and it’s not about which framework is best, or which language is most marketable.

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In fact the debate isn’t a matter of code, it’s a matter of words.

It’s Not Just About Experience Level

“Full Stack Developer” is the title developers both new and old often use to describe themselves. According to a Stack Overflow developer survey touted as the “most comprehensive developer survey conducted” the title is among the top five respondents used to describe themselves.

However, not everyone thinks newer developers should adopt the title.

It would be easy to distill the debate to a matter of experience level, veterans earned the “full stack” title, while newer programmers haven’t. However, there’s way more layers to this debate.

What Exactly is Full Stack

First of all, a simple google search reveals several different definitions of “full stack.” There’s general consensus when it comes to the high-level definition. CodeUp sums up this definition, “The term full stack means developers who are comfortable working with both back-end and front-end technologies.”

When it comes down to the nitty-gritty of what exactly falls under back-end and front-end, there’s some disagreement.

Mastery level also matters, but again there’s disagreement over what’s acceptable. In one camp, are the proficiency pushers who require not only a breadth of understanding, but also a depth of understanding in multiple areas.

In this camp, it’s not just good enough to have exposure to SQL, one must have proficiency in SQL.

In the other camp, are the generalist. They also require a breadth of knowledge, but are happy with a basic familiarity of each stack element. When it comes to debating whether newer developers should adopt the full stack title, the lack of clarity on what full stack means in the first place is a major stumbling block.

Why Full Stack?

Besides clarifying the what behind “full stack” some folks are also clarifying the why. According to Indeed’s job trends, the number of postings and searches matching “full stack developer” on average has trended upwards since 2012 . The title’s popularity causes some to believe that new developers are adopting the title as a buzzword with no real care put into understanding what “full stack” means.

Android Programmer Dan Kim from Basecamp warns, “Just don’t fall back to labeling yourself with a bullshit buzzword that everyone else uses.”

For others, adopting the full stack title is a matter of mindset. As Web developer Christian Maioli over at TechBeacon writes: “To me, a full stack developer is someone who has the curiosity and drive to test the limits of a technology and understand how each piece works generally in various scenarios. Having this mindset will give developers more value and more power in dealing with new situations.”

In both cases, understanding why a new developer adopts the full stack title is connected to understanding whether they’re overselling their skills and how valuable their skills are to a potential employer.

Beyond Job Titles

Finally, this debate about whether new developers should use the “full stack” title brings up the need for alternative methods of measuring proficiency. This need isn’t limited to the web development world, as technology innovates job titles become convoluted.

A job title won’t be the most reliable way to communicate what you bring to a job or what you expect.Click To Tweet

Quantifying what you’ve accomplished in the past, along with what tools you used will be critical in a time where job titles aren’t trusted.

This story was first published here on April 7, 2017.

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We’ve all seen job listings for UX writers, but what exactly is UX writing?

(TECH NEWS) We seeing UX writer titles pop up and while UX writing is not technically new, there are new availabilities popping up.

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The work of a UX writer is something you come across everyday. Whether you’re hailing an Uber or browsing Spotify for that one Drake song, your overall user experience is affected by the words you read at each touchpoint.

A UX writer facilitates a smooth interaction between user and product at each of these touchpoints through carefully chosen words.

Some of the most common touchpoints UX writers work on are interface copy, emails and notifications. It doesn’t sound like the most thrilling stuff, but imagine using your favorite apps without all the thoughtful confirmation messages we take for granted. Take Eat24’s food delivery app, instead of a boring loading visual, users get a witty message like “smoking salmon” or “slurping noodles.”

Eat24’s app has UX writing that works because it’s engaging.

Xfinity’s mobile app provides a pleasant user experience by being intuitive. Shows that are available on your phone are clearly labeled under “Available Out of Home.” I’m bummed that Law & Order: SVU isn’t available, but thanks to thoughtful UX writing at least I knew that sad fact ahead of time.

Regardless of where you find a UX writer’s work, there are three traits an effective UX writer must have. Excellent communication skills is a must. The ability to empathize with the user is on almost every job post.

But from my own experience working with UX teams, I’d argue for the ability to advocate as the most important skill.

UX writers may have a very specialized mission, but they typically work within a greater UX design team. In larger companies some UX writers even work with a smaller team of fellow writers. Decisions aren’t made in isolation. You can be the wittiest writer, with a design decision based on obsessive user research, but if you can’t advocate for those decisions then what’s the point?

I mentioned several soft skills, but that doesn’t mean aspiring UX writers can’t benefit from developing a few specific tech skills. While the field doesn’t require a background in web development, UX writers often collaborate with engineering teams. Learning some basic web development principles such as responsive design can help writers create a better user experience across all devices. In a world of rapid prototyping, I’d also suggest learning a few prototyping apps. Several are free to try and super intuitive.

Now that the UX in front of writer no longer intimidates you, go check out ADJ, The American Genius’ Facebook Group for Austin digital job seekers and employers. User centered design isn’t going anywhere and with everyone getting into the automation game, you can expect even more opportunities in UX writing.

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Loopy is the new easy tool that helps explain hard ideas

(TECH NEWS) Loopy is a tool that can revolutionize how we explain anything from personal ideas to business complexities.

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In a world filled with complex systems, Loopy serves as a tool for people to take their time understanding them.

The tool allows users to create interactive simulations to help people explain their ways of thinking.

Loopy has found a way for people to interact with simulations without complicated code or overused drag and drop. You can create your own or collaborate with other simulations already made on the site.

It is a great way to challenge yourself while learning how each system works.

Loopy encourages you to ask hypothetical questions to better understand the systems. The model consists of circles and arrows to remain uncomplicated. When you remix or interact with simulations that were made by other users, it is as if you are having a conversation via the simulations. Loopy describes this as “talking in systems” which makes the entire experience more impactful.

Though Loopy can be used as a fun way to exercise your brain, it also has practical implications. For instance, simulations can be embedded into blog posts, live lectures and presentations. You can also develop videos to further explain complex ideas.

This is especially useful for businesses who want to simplify their models when communicating with investors and consumers.

Simulations can be a fun way to illustrate your thoughts and support your ideas. Businesses can use Loopy to create collaborative activities for their employees to mess around with as well.

The best part is that anyone can try it out for free. On their site, you can develop your own simulations or adjust ones that have already been made.

At its core, Loopy is simulation software.

However, their goal is to give everyone the tools that they need to understand complex systems. This goes for both the creators and the viewers, who are all a part of the process.

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