Daily Archives: May 22, 2015

Fitbit Leads The Way In The Wearable Bands Market


When it comes to choosing a wearable for our wrists, we can opt for the more well-rounded smartwatch like the Apple Watch, or we could opt for more dedicated fitness bands that are more focused towards fitness than displaying notifications, such as those created by Fitbit and Garmin.

That being said in terms of wearable bands, it seems that Fitbit is the current leader. This is according to analyst firm Canalys who revealed that Fitbit saw a major year-on-year growth, and that the wearable band market saw a 150% increase in sales year-on-year.

Surprisingly despite not being known for its wearables, Xiaomi came in second place, most likely due to its affordable price tag.

Canalys pegged Garmin in third place and we can only imagine that the latest Garmin Forerunner 225 with a built-in heart rate monitor should help boost the company’s sales as well. This report from Canalys seems to corroborate an earlier report from Argus Insights which has estimated that Fitbit currently commands about 68% of the fitness tracker market.

In the meantime Canalys found that despite the Apple Watch requiring users to own an iPhone, thus limiting its accessibility, it actually had a negative impact on other vendors. Canalys VP and Principal Analyst Chris Jones states, “Despite the Apple Watch requiring an iPhone, Apple’s impending entrance in Q2 had a negative impact on vendors such as Samsung.

Discounting has been used to clear inventory in the channel,” said VP and Principal Analyst Chris Jones. “The Apple Watch has set the benchmark for other smart watches and will make up the majority of shipments this year.”


15 Programming Languages You Need To Know In 2015


If you’re a programmer, these are good times. Jobs in the segment are projected to grow 8% over the next seven years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you’re a hotshot coder, you can make up to $300 an hour or more.

Those at the high end of the pay scale have mastered the languages that are most in demand. Which are those? We asked Doug Winnie, director of content for online learning platform Lynda. Here’s his assessment:

1. Java

Java is one of the most popular languages for building back-ends for modern enterprise-web applications. With Java and frameworks based on it, web developers can build scalable web apps for a variety of users. Java is also the main language used to develop native Android apps for smartphones and tablets.

2. JavaScript

Every modern website uses JavaScript. It’s the go-to language if you want to create interactivity for your site, or build user interfaces with one of the dozens of popular JavaScript frameworks.


C# is the primary language for developing on Microsoft platforms and services. Whether you’re building modern web applications using Azure and .NET, apps for Windows devices or powerful desktop apps for your business, C# is the quickest way to harness all that Microsoft has to offer. Want to play, as well? The popular Unity game development engine also uses C# as one of its primary languages.

4. PHP

Building a web app that needs to work with data? PHP, along with databases like MySQL, are essential tools for building modern web applications. PHP powers a majority of today’s data-driven websites, and is the foundation technology for powerful content management systems, like WordPress, which you can extend to make your site more powerful.

5. C++

Want to get a little lower level with your programming? When you need to connect directly to hardware to get the most out of your processing power, C++ is the perfect choice for developing powerful desktop software, hardware-accelerated games and memory-intensive apps on desktops, consoles and mobile devices.

6. Python

Python can almost do it all. Web apps, user interfaces, data analysis, statistics – whatever your problem, there’s likely a framework for it in Python. Most recently, Python has been used as a key tool for data scientists to sift through giant data sets for any industry.

7. C

Why is the C language still popular? Size. C is small, fast and powerful. If you’re building software for embedded systems, working with system kernels or just want to squeeze every last drop of the resources you have at hand, C is lean, mean and ready to scream.

8. SQL

Data is massive, it’s everywhere and it’s complex. SQL gives you the ability to find the exact information you want in a fast, repeatable and reliable way. Using SQL, you can easily query and extract meaningful data from large, complex databases.


Want to kickstart your project in record time, or prototype a new idea for your next big web app? Ruby (and Ruby on Rails) can get you there quickly. The Ruby language is straightforward to learn and incredibly powerful, plus it powers tons of popular web apps around the globe.

10. Objective-C

If you’re interested in making an app for iOS, you’ll need to know Objective-C. While last year’s hype centered on Apple’s new language Swift, Objective-C is still the foundational language if you want to build apps for the Apple ecosystem. With Objective-C and XCode, the official software development tool from Apple, you’ll be in the App Store in no time.

11. Perl

Is Perl esoteric? Yes. Is it confusing? Yes. Is it a super powerful language, and a key component of anyone’s cyber security arsenal? Also true. Perl has powered the web since its early beginnings, and is still considered a key tool for any IT professional.

12 .NET

Although not a language in itself, .NET is a key Microsoft platform for cloud, service and app development that gets more advanced and valuable with each release. Due to the recent open-sourcing efforts of Microsoft, .NET is now coming to Google and Apple platforms. As a result, you can use .NET today with a variety of programming languages to build apps that easily support multiple platforms.

13. Visual Basic

Visual Basic is the language that gets business done. A key language of the .NET platform, it enables you to build applications to support your business, and automate powerful Office applications like Excel to accomplish super-human feats of computation, as well as streamline your most common tasks.

14. R

R is powering the revolution of big data, and is a must-know language in 2015 for anyone in need of serious data analysis. From science and business to entertainment and social media, R is the language to learn for statistical analysis across nearly every field of interest.

15. Swift

Not even a year old, the Swift programming language has captured the eyes and keyboards of developers worldwide as a new, fast and easy way to develop for Apple’s Mac and iOS operating systems. Swift’s broad power and friendly syntax makes it possible for anyone with a Mac to build the next killer app for iOS or Mac OS X.


Your Presentation Needs a Punch Line


It was late Saturday night on Chicago’s North Side, and the historic Green Mill jazz club was buzzing with nervous energy. So was I. Pacing on the edge of the tiny stage, I gave my notes one final glance, exterminated the butterflies in my stomach, and stepped into the blinding spotlight. “Welcome to the inaugural edition of Mortified Chicago!” I shouted into the mic. “Tonight, real people will read their teenage diaries in front of you, total strangers. It’s an unusual experiment that’s equal parts comedic, cathartic, and, yes creepily voyeuristic!”

That was 2006. The first time I’d ever produced a live comedy show. Since then, I’ve helped hundreds of Mortified performers-ordinary, courageous people-turn extraordinarily embarrassing artifacts of their teen angst into professional bits of comedy. I also started to work at IDEO as a writer and marketing professional.

These days, most of my time is spent in conference rooms instead of comedy clubs, and the performers I coach are designers and consultants who want their ideas to land successfully with clients. I’ve found that many of the same storytelling approaches apply in either circumstance.

Since TED has upped the presentation game for business professionals, and PowerPoint-as-usual no longer cuts it, you may find them just as useful. Here are the five techniques I’ve found most applicable outside the comedy club. These come not just from my own experience, but also from my obsession with watching, reading about, and talking with comedians.

Take a bar exam. Unlike conference rooms, bars are friendly, social places. People expect stories told there to be succinct and entertaining. That’s why at IDEO, we tell our designers to “Take a Bar Exam.” Go to a bar with a colleague-or imagine you’re in one-and tell your story using only napkin drawings as your visuals. Have your friend repeat back your story to see what’s sticking and what’s not. Refine and repeat. Once you can keep his or her attention over “hecklers” like blaring TVs, you’ll be in good shape for sharing your presentation in a conference room.

Be immediately interesting. Any time you stand in the front of a room you’re saying, “Please be quiet. I’m very interesting,” which also happens to be Zach Galifianakis’ opening line in “The Comedians of Comedy.” People expect you to be prepared, confident, and interesting. That’s especially difficult if you’re nervous. “Do some light exercises before to raise your adrenaline (but not so much you’re sweaty),” advises Neil Stevenson, an IDEO Managing Director who coaches TED presenters. And instead of dribbling out a throat-clearing intro, stand up straight, project your voice, and nail the delivery of your opening lines. The first line or two set the tone for the rest of your presentation and put the audience at ease.

Find the “you” in your presentation. It can be hard to find the emotional core, or the “you,” inside of presentations on “robust product road maps” or “incentivizing customer loyalty,” but it can be done with a bit of story “therapy” similar to what we do with Mortified performers. Why should you be telling this story? What’s your unique POV? What are you passionate about? For instance, maybe the emotional drive at the center of creating a “robust product road map,” is your love of planning and belief in a new design direction for the company. Whatever it is, your story’s emotional core will give you credibility as a speaker and help you better connect with your audience

Simplify and exaggerate. Having a story unfold in real time in front of a live audience takes a lot of effort on the part of listeners. They have to hold many details in their heads simultaneously like characters, setting, plot lines, and so on, and they don’t have the luxury of rewinding or rereading. To make it easier, ditch unnecessary details and business jargon, supply sensory details (sight, smell, sound, touch, taste) to make your story more immersive, and exaggerate the main points to make them more unexpected. Or as I tell Mortified performers, “Pretend I’m a drunk college kid in the back row and tell me your story.”

Close strong. “If people don’t know a joke’s over,” says Chicago comedian Adam Burke, “it’s not a joke.” Why do you think a punch line’s called a punch line? People instinctually crave strong, simple resolutions to stories. Weak endings such as, “Well, it looks like we’re out of time” are the storytelling equivalent of falling offstage. They leave an audience feeling unsettled and zap a room’s energy. When in doubt, refer back to your opening lines to bring your story full circle.

This final piece of advice is less a stage trick and more of a mental shift. Start subbing “performance” for “presentation,” even if it’s just in your head. This simple reframing will automatically help you deliver a story in a more entertaining, engaging way.


%d bloggers like this: