AusTech

Business and Technology Articles Contributed by UWA Students

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The Car Industry: What is to come?

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Mobilization is a necessity in today’s modern world and nothing beats cars as the most comfortable, utile and accessible vehicles to move around. Although for longer distances there exist alternatives such as planes, ships and helicopters, in terms of in-city and countryside mobilization, cars are simply the greatest. Car business is also one of the most dominant and important sectors of the global industry today, with several different sub-categories of business operating under a single dome. There is the retail business which sells first and second hand cars, while there are also the spare parts/service and cash for cars businesses that offer assistance to car owners in terms of maintentance and sales of their vehicles. With the introduction of electric cars recently, the market began to make headlines once again with its new products, services and future promises, meaning that it is a good idea to keep a tab on what is going on in the auotomotive markets to be ready for exciting news and products as well as issues awaiting to be revealed to the public soon.

 Donald Trump’s election as the 45th president of the United States has affected every aspect of life in the country and in the world, with the automobiles business being no exception. Ford has announced recently that, thanks to the Trump Administration’s recent tariffs on cars assembled in China, it will not be releasing the new Ford Focus Crossover into the American markets. The tariffs go up to 25% for such cars and the situation constitutes a risk for the company’s predictions of 50,000+ vehicles to be sold annually in the US. The American automobile market is heavily dependent on imports and no producer can compete in the game solely by domestic production, meaning that Trump’s economic plan will create further complications for other brands as well. In addition, as the tariffs will shrink the markets and reduce the consumers’ purchasing powers, US based production will also find it harder to sell cars in the country due to higher prices and lower consumer demand. The financial markets have already begun to respond to such a critical mistake in policy making as Ford’s stocks fell under the $10 benchmark for the first time in 10 years to $9.48, equating a 2.3% loss of value for the company.

The situation at the other end of the Atlantic seems to be no better as the UK based car producers and retailers are also worried about the prospects of business following the recently approved controversial bill ‘Brexit.’ Creating a socio-political environment of confusion and uncertainty, Brexit led the British public to cut down on expenditures on cars, creating a 5.7% drop in sales of automobiles in the country in 2017. The same ratio for 2018 is expected to be around 5.5%, showing no sign of improvement 1and signaling a long term recession for the industry. The UK economy enjoys a steady relationship with the rest of the globe regarding automobiles, selling 80% of the domestic production to foreign markets, meaning that the incapability to continue such commerce will have drastic effects on the country’s economy. The main point of concern is that trade barriers will be heightened following Brexit while America’s ongoing economic war with China will continue to have adverse effects on the European automobile businesses. Considering UK’s current intimate economic relations with China and its political associations with the US, the current state of crisis is prone to produce larger problems for the country’s economy in the years to come.

China’s great production power seems to pose yet another threat to Western capitalist economic dominance: serious competition in the newly emerging electric supercars market. Companies such as Tesla, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Lamborghini have all released promising vehciles into the market recently but China’s NextEV seems to have defeated them all with its new model, the NIO EP9. The car is capable of reaching 265 miles/hour speed while also being charged in as little as 45 minutes, both of which are features that are currently only dreamed of by the company’s competitors. Although the car costs $1.2 million per a single unit of production, China’s integrated economic system has enabled NextEV to partner with other industrial conglomerates to create extra funding for the project to continue research and production. Government owned companies such as Bejing Auto International Corporation are also helping NextEV reach global markets to help promote its cars and enhance its sales with sub-brands such as ArcFox to help establish a strong brand image in the eyes of the global consumers for the company.

Laws, Rules and Realities: the Business World as a Motivator of Modern Life

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Imagining a modern world without order and structure is close to impossible and one cannot help but ask the question, ‘what keeps all this mess together?’ Among many possible answers is one that sticks out as unique and undebatable: law. Societies operate on legal systems, which intend to define and regulate social, political and economic relations between their members and the structures they create. Constitutions are taken to be central to such social construction while local laws are also frequently re-created, changed and updated to fit the needs of specific people and their relations, giving the modern day legal systems a compartmentalized structure. Professionalism is required in such a system as it becomes virtually impossible for anyone to understand and figure out every aspect of it, given the monumental amounts of information and technicality involved.

This is why there are different types of legal professionals in the world today, dealing with different types of legality. A criminal lawyer concerns themselves with legal issues that can be explained and handled through criminal law and represents their client in this regard. A personal injury lawyer deals with physical and psychological damages resulting out of incidents to seek for legal punishment and compensation, while a corporate law works with business law to represent their clients, protecting their rights and privileges within the respective legal context. Business law in today’s world is a substantial subject matter because business relations and operations play a centralized role in the way modern societies form and behave, making the healthy and productive regulation of such relations and operations a dire necessity. Without such regulation, modern societies would be haunted by issues such as corruption and illegality, which makes authority building and keeping crucial issues for all the players involved. This is also why business law is frequently subjected to changes and improvisations in virtually every society in the world, as business tolerates no mistakes or errors, especially in the field of legislation, which is a non-negotiable necessity for its secure existence and successful operations.

Not a day passes in today’s world without hearing something new that is going on in America, thanks to the newly elected 45the president of the country, Mr. Donald Trump’s ambitious and sometimes vicious new policies. Unsurprisingly, the American businesses got their share of controversy in this reality, as the Trump administration imposed new tax policies targeting American businesses as one of the first things it did for America. Matt Egan’s CNN article concentrates on this issue to state that “President Donald Trump’s tax law was sold as a transformative overhaul that would unlock an ocean of money Corporate America could spend on job-creating investments,” meaning that there are some intriguing aspect to this new legislation. The plan that was put into action last December has managed to create millions of one-time bonuses for employees of American companies, accompanied by serious wage hikes, which has initiated a “record-shattering stock buyback bonanza that enriched shareholders.”  However, economists tend to agree that the healthy amounts and levels of spending have not translated into new investments as of yet, meaning that the newly legislated tax policies have not necessary contributed to economic development in the country. Although the rate of real non-residential fixed investment was measured at 6.1% for the first quarter of this year, the given ratio has been stumbling around the same level for several past quarters anyway, meaning that the given policy change did not substantiate any growth there either.

Naturally, businesses take their time to comprehend this new reality to make decisions and adapt to the new paradigm. According to Egan, it should also be noted that spending on industrial equipment such as “new tools, tractors and servers, increased by 4.7% at the beginning of 2018” which was “less than half the growth from the fourth quarter,” depicting a “slight uptick from the year before.” The author quotes Ed Yardeni, the president of investment advisory at Yardeni Research Inc., who believes that this increase has to be contributed to the state of recovery taking place, regarding the given market following a two years long period of recession based on an increase of oil prices. Similarly, The Carlyle Group’s Jason Thomas points out that the Chinese economic growth, as well as recent market developments in American domestic energy and mining businesses contributed to such a recovery and not solely the tax cuts themselves. Technically speaking, the new law has managed to create significant savings for large corporations by lowering the corporate taxes to 21% from their previous level of 35%, while also giving such companies a tax reduction for overseas profits, deducing the expenses associated with capital spending for such business ventures. On the other hand, the markets for various goods and products remain at either same levels of growth or have actually regressed, which has created confusion so far and put the Trump administration under significant political pressure as it is being accused of implementing a pointless and unproductive laws to appease the masses.  

Egan then refers to Alan Auerbach, the director of Berkeley’s Robert D. Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance, who believes that the tax cuts did not translate into a surge in investment, presumably due to the current hostile political environment. Aurbach also pointed out  that the most notable effect the legislation had so far was in regards to the stock prices at Wall Street, “with the Dow racing to an all-time high of 26,616 in late January before tumbling,” and several companies also reporting significantly high levels of earning due to lower taxes.  A good example is Corporate America, which distributed high amounts of dividends and share buybacks to its shareholder as well as Apple Inc., which spent “$22.8 billion on stock buyback during the first three months of the year,” which was “more than any company in American history, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.” This situation constitutes yet another reason for criticism to the given legislation because although it is working out wonders for the highest-ranking companies and their financial standings, it did pretty much nothing for the middle or small sized businesses. Given Trump’s own position as a high-profile businessman and investor, it is understood that his administration is following his personal philosophy regarding comprehending and supporting business decisions. As the administration continues to boost growth for its highest earners, it will face significant political consequences regarding possible setbacks to stem out of dissatisfied businesses and their respective owners/employees/supporters.    

An important aspect of business law today is the issue of resignation as wrong or unlawful practices in this field might lead to serious legal problems for the employees. Matt Gingell’s report for The Independent outlines the proper legal strategies to employ when quitting one’s job to ensure safety and justice as the author states that “the key thing is to assess your options, have a strategy, and [not] do anything rash.” There are various reasons for wanting to quit one’s job according to Gingell, such as problems with the employer, ignorance in the workplace, harassment by a manager or unfair evaluation of performance by the administration. In such case scenarios, the trust element is usually lost between the employee and the organization, leading the employee to make mistakes with respect to which steps to follow next. Most legal problems emerge when employees do not follow the routine and behave out of frustration at this level of things because they cannot keep up with the pressures anymore, thinking that an immediate resignation will solve all the associated problems, which unfortunately does not seem to be the case at all. Quick and unwise decisions create further complications which the employers and their organizations capitalize on to refrain from following legal procedures which have been designed to protect the rights of the employees.

The author refers to how important it is to raise a grievance, meaning that employees who have found themselves in such a situation need to raise an official complaint to resolve the emergent issues of conflict. Since all companies have different procedures and regulations of such nature, it is important that such employees follow company guidelines and not make crucial mistakes in the process. Gingell then states that “in some cases it may be appropriate to make an informal complaint before lodging a formal grievance” because this way the employee might alert the manager before a serious damage is dealt to their professional business relationship. By giving the administration time to investigate and respond, the employee ensures that they cannot resort to unexpected and undesired strategies to hinder possible legal procedures. In addition, when such an informal complaint is issued before a formal one, it becomes possible that during the pursuing official complaint stage, the employee might be awarded with higher compensation if a period of communication took place between the two parties. In other words, the business law of today has a tendency to punish ‘crybabies,’ who directly resort to legal procedures without sparing time or effort to negotiate with their companies.

Gingell then points out that negotiations lead to off-the-record deals because  most employers do not wish to involve legal procedures to begin with, fearing that they might lead to higher expenditures in time, resource and capital, not to mention the possibility of defamation. In another way, such deal-seeking behavior makes it possible for the given parties to “enter into a settlement agreement,” where it is also quite important for such employees to “obtain legal advice before entering into such an agreement” as such advice “allows [them] to assess [their] options carefully, and obtain information.” In some cases, there are different legal procedures applicable to different cases of disagreement, which means that it is virtually impossible for a regular employee to know about such procedures without professional guidance. The author adds that one of the most common problems employees observe after falling out with their organizations is the issue of negative references and therefore it is important to agree upon a mutually satisfying recommendation before quitting the job. If the proper legal steps are taken, employers are deterred from giving biased negative recommendations for their past employees to limit their future capabilities in the workforce. Fearing legal setbacks, such employers become legally bound to provide the agreed upon recommendation to the future employers as long as the given legal procedure was completed. Additionally, in the case that a restriction exists in the employment contract that prevents an employee from being hired at a competitor firm for a specific period of time, such a restriction can also be waived through legal means.

Conclusively, Gingell states that in the case that an employee suspects unfair treatment at the workplace, they can “consider bringing a claim for constructive unfair dismissal” upon a quick resignation based on “a fundamental breach of contract by [their] employer” such as “a breach of trust, or another [related] major breach.” The author also points out that these types of claims are not necessarily easy to prove in a court and therefore it is equally important to obtain legal advice before resignation and follow the proper legal procedure to minimize the risks of future legal confrontation. In either case scenario, the author emphasizes the fact that the best advice is the one that is obtained at the earliest opportunity. Every employee should know that they “need to have had at least two years’ service” and that they are also “required to follow the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service’s (Acas) early conciliation process prior to lodging the claim.” In terms of the actual procedure itself, Gingel points out that such employees have the obligation to pay the requisite fee to the employment tribunal within three months beginning with the date of termination while specific laws might be applying to specific cases, meaning that the local laws should also be researched into and respected during the process.

Finance is a crucial element in today’s business and the United States is a playground for legal battles over financial issues, given the country’s controversial yet equally dominant Federal Reserve system. Binyamin Appelbaum for  The New York Times has worded an article titled “Federal Reserve Is Sued, Accused of Limiting Competition,” referring to a recent case involving, James McAndrews, a former employee who is “suing the Fed for blocking his plan to create a new kind of bank.”  Mr. McAndrews has claimed that the Fed is “putting the interests of big Wall Street banks ahead of their large customers,” as evidenced with his own banking investment. While being a typical claim, the issue is actually a largely debated one with the Federal Reserve system being accused of protecting the rights and privileges of the large corporations and their financial partners over those of the regular people. Such criticism is leading many to speculate that the system is designed to create debt, poverty and slavery as its preset and built-in mechanisms. Accusing the bank’s chairman, Jerome H. Powell, the lawsuit claims that the bank’s administration took legal measure to prevent the establishment and obstruct the operations of a new bank, TNB USA, by denying permission for the bank to open an account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York which was “a necessary precursor for TNB USA to open its doors.” The Fed’s officials have publically stated that they are aware of the case and are currently reviewing it with no further comments made to the public.

TNB USA’s premise was that the bank would not be making any loans but instead, “it would put all of its customer deposits into an account at the New York Fed,” seeking to capitalize on a legal space the Fed created in 2015 following a monetary policy implemented by the institution in 2008. Prior to the financial crisis of the same year, the Fed would seek to slow down economic growth by recalling all the money in the financial system, whereas after the crisis and the pursuant policy changes, the organization now “seeks to immobilize money by paying banks to maintain deposits at the Federal Reserve.” The interest rate to be applied to such deposits is 1.95%, while the institution has been known to lower the interest rate for the money obtained from customers such as large-scale investors, to around 1.75%. In this system, the Federal Reserve maintains its dominant position to be able to offer low interest for its capital, which it creates out of its own secretive banking procedures, while pressuring the secondary banks and crediting institutions to increase their interest rates, which in turn decreases their competitiveness in the game. Mr. McAndrews seems to be interested in challenging the status quo because he believes that it is important to pay low interests “ so that all of the rent doesn’t get soaked up by the banks,”” which he believes is “what’s happening right now.” After working at the New York Fed for six years between 2010 and 2016, Mr. McAndrews obtained his own banking charter from Connecticut in 2017 but was denied an account at the New York Fed to continue with his own private banking affairs.

The 2008 financial crisis embarked a new era in banking, in the sense that it became a lot harder and unusual to establish new banks, with the total number of chartered banks being only seven between the years of 2013 and 2017. Prior to the crisis, this number was around 750, showing how volatile and discriminatory the practices became following the global incident. Although Mr. McAndrews kept a close relationship with the Federal Reserve officials over the years, he believes that it was the “specific direction of the Board’s Chairman” that blocked his application and lead to its dismissal. The officials are currently not providing explanations for their decision while the general conception is that projects such as TNB USA are considered to be ‘narrow banks,’ meaning that they offer more problems and complications than solutions, making support for their operations a risky business for the Fed. However, the opponents of this view state that such banks are actually good for the banking business, providing institutional investors with “safe parking spaces where they can easily access their money,” through banking procedures such as “short-term ‘commercial paper’ lending to corporations.” In many such cases, where investors seek funding for projects, they tend to get lost in the procedural difficulties and especially during times of crisis, large corporations such as the Fed and its associates simply refuse to offer any credit at all, pushing the market and its financially constricted competitors into further trouble.

Appelbaum then quotes John Cochrane, an economist at Stanford University with his words published in a blog post discussing Mr. McAndrews’ plans, on how the Fed should “encourage narrow banks and give others a gold star for using them rather than shadier short-term assets in the first place.” According to Mr. Cochrane, if the institution seeks to acts as a stabilizing force against financial crises and their adverse effects on the American economy, it should show initiative to place itself at a more centralized and authoritative position. According to his critics however, narrow banks such as TNC USA have the potential to destabilize the entire financial system by discouraging depositors from keeping their money in commercial banks to lead them to riskier options. As the Federal Reserve itself is also criticized and pressurized politically, regarding its disproportionate profits that the bank is making from interest payments totaling $25.8 billion in 2017, the financial markets are currently caught in a state of stranglehold. The Federal Reserve is not holding back however, continuing with its policies of increasing interest rates that it pays on deposits, while “reducing the volume of deposits by gradually draining money from the system.” Mr. McAndrews continues his criticism by stating that “the Fed is already in the business he is seeking to enter” as the organization not only takes money from unrelated financial companies, but it also “pays interest on deposits from foreign central banks and on deposits from financial utilities” such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. In such a case scenario, according to Mr. McAndrews, the bank can decrease its interest rates paid on deposits from its accounts to completely block his business options. Either way, the ex-Fed employee and new banking entrepreneur simply accuses the bank and its policies for reducing competitiveness in the market and therefore damaging the already inconsistent business environment through legal games.

Technology as a Frontier, Market and Constraint: Observations of Actuality

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Speed, efficiency and productivity. As three major determinants of success in today’s world, these notions are also necessary components of modern day technology, separating the good from the bad. In today’s world, the users of technology are provided with various options to make the most out of their experiences. Whether it be electric cars running on batteries, automated drones flying over huge distances or vpn providers providing easy, safe and unlimited internet access, modern day technology adds all the three mentioned elements into the routine of live. Consequently, technology and human life continue to interact with one another to produce utile and constructive results while the future holds nothing but promises, possibilities and opportunities for the human race.

Apple’s introduction to human lives has a long history stretching back to the 80’s, but it was essentially the introduction of the iPhone in 2008 that established the company’s dominance in the electronics markets. Every year, the company releases new products and the new iPhone makes the headlines, adding fuel to tech-related discussions. Being the first company in the American history to reach a market value of one trillion dollars, Apple seeks to bypass this year for releasing a groundbreaking phone and observe its competitors experiment with new technologies. Samsung has a plan to release a phone with a flexible screen, OnePlus has announced that it will embed a fingerprint sensor into its new device’s screen while Huawei also has plans to build a more flexible smartphone. While a new iPhone XS and iMac are expected to surface sometime during the new season, the company seeks to observe the novelties in the markets and pick up on successful technologies to utilize them in future phones and computers.

One feature that separates iPhones from Androids is the iMessage function that enables iPhone users to “read receipts, text over Wi-Fi and send high-resolution pictures and video.” Google and Samsung have teamed up in their pursuit to integrate this function into the Android system under the label of ‘Rich Communication Services (RCS)’ which will provide all the mentioned functions described above for Android users. iPhones currently provide these preset functions to their users but prior to RCS, the Android systems would require specific applications such as WhatsApp to carry out such functions. Samsung has announced that its Galaxy S8, S8+, S9, S9+, Note8&9, Galaxy A and J devices will include RCS while Google will be integrating the system into its Android Messages platform. This way, all the smartphones running on the latest Android system will have access to RCS. The innovation shows that the smartphones market is getting more integrated and saturated on a daily basis, with shared expectations shaping the capabilities of future products.

Modern day life simply cannot exist without social media and as outlets such as Facebook and Twitter are gaining worth and value by the minute, opposition and criticism also build up. Kara Swisher, a “veteran Silicon Valley journalist” is one of the leaders of such opposition and she believes that “Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are doing great damage to the world, perhaps without realizing it.” Swisher believes that these services are responsible for supporting massive political disinformation campaigns, publicizing and legitimizing hate speech as well as disclosing personal information. In other words, the social media giants are ‘weaponizing’ the human societies by controlling, altering and manipulating communications which in turn puts people at each other’s throats. What is even scarier, according to Swisher, is that they are utilizing the First Amendment for this purpose to disrupt civil discourse and political stability. The modern day philosopher believes that there is further damage that the global society will suffer from these services in the future, meaning that societies will have to develop a new sense of social responsibility to counter the effects of disinformation.

Millennials and future generations to ensure the vitality of cryptocurrency

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Cryptocurrency is a concept that many people are still trying to understand. It has been bubbling under the surface for a few years, but it was not until recently that the buzz over cryptocurrency came to boiling point, simmering to the point that it exploded and is now the talk of the world and industries alike.

Businesses are grappling to understand the intricate details of the cryptocurrency review, and individuals are finding themselves in the middle of a war between traditional currency methods and the future of currency.

It is a battle that has been waged between the traditionally-inclined, and the minds that are taking us into the future.

Make no mistake, cryptocurrency is the future of currency and exchange. Just ask the millennials. The past, present, and future of cryptocurrency is intriguing, but each phase of its life (even that which has not happened yet) ensures that it will surely make its way into the future as a key currency system.

Believe it or not, cryptocurrency has actually been around for a few years now. While it has been mostly simmering away in the background of technological evolution for the last few years, it has been slowly but surely establishing its foundation as one of the most forthcoming and important technological advancements of our time.

In this unique time in human history, we are teetering between the edge of the current era – where we are reliant on both traditional and modern advancements for everyday life – and the dawn of a new era – where we rely almost entirely on digitisation in all its forms.

Millennials are the first generation that grew up surrounded by technology. With technological evolution at their very fingertips, it is the millennials that are driving the understanding that importance of cryptocurrency going forward. Think about it.

Millennials are now of the age where they are entering the workforce, and they are taking with them new ideas and revolutionary concepts that are built off their knowledge and reliability on technology.

Cryptocurrency embodies everything that the younger generations value most: ease of access, reliability, security, and convenience. Having their finances completely within their control is appealing for obvious reasons, and they are taking that appeal and using it to drive forward concepts like cryptocurrency into the core of businesses and industries alike.

This drive is allowing the world to transition into the digitised era with more ease than was once thought possible, and it is all thanks to the up-and-coming generations. As the leaders of tomorrow, they are the innovators of today.

Decentralisation is the way of the future, and cryptocurrency is the epitome of decentralisation in motion. It is not only likely but entirely probable that the future of basically every facet of life will go digital in some way or another.

Currency is one of the most important, valuable facets in our functioning lives, and we want to ensure its security and longevity. Therefore, it stands to reason that cryptocurrency is indeed the future of financial decentralisation.

Cheating deterrent for Online Examinations

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The growth of online testing in education is truly fascinating. Online tests offer multiple advantages: they are graded automatically, the feedback is instantaneous and there is humungous data for future analysis. On the flip side, there are concerns about the linkage between online testing and cheating as the students are merely a click away from the internet. The tech-savvy students of today make disruptive use of technology such as cell phones and smart phones during an exam. Fortunately, the educational authorities and institutions can cheat-proof the online exam system in many ways, from deploying technological tools to conducting exams from verified centers alone.

Ways to Deter Cheating

All attempts at resolving the cheating menace should begin with establishing a culture of honesty within the classroom. A culture of honesty can be nurtured when students themselves believe that they can be clean and competitive at the same time. There could be a discussion at the start of the academic year about academic integrity and related matters. The message should go out loud and clear that dishonest behavior is being taken seriously and would invite repercussions as the goal of any good institution is to create a level-playing field for all its students and form ethical leaders for the future.

An honest school culture should be supplemented by a proactive approach, which combines strategy and technology, in the fight against cheating.  Technology is crucial to examination management and creation of a cheat-free examination environment. The exam software should scrutinize the validity of a student by checking past records to prevent the all-pervasive nuisance of impersonation. Auto online remote proctoring in the form of webcams and microphones should be deployed during an online exam to help an invigilator to see, interact and keep a tab on the candidates. Biometrics devices, face recognition technology and fingerprint scanners would also go a long way in authenticating the identity of an examination candidate. The exam access should only be enabled from a valid IP environment in order to foil illegal login attempts. And the students should only be allowed to use a custom browser that prevents access to the internet and other applications on the computer.

On the strategic front, assessment methods should be designed to measure varying indicators of learning. The questions should be subjective as far as possible to assess higher order thinking and understanding skills and leave little or no room for copying. Multiple-choice questions can measure a student’s ability to recall information and should be allotted limited time so as to maintain the student’s focus on available options. Moreover, they should be chosen from a large pool of questions and be randomized for each candidate. The questions on the screen could be displayed one at a time so as to make it difficult for the students to take a screen capture of the displayed questions and share them with their peers and get the required answers.

To conclude, a culture of honesty, technology and prudent strategy can combine to create a cheat-proof online examination system.

Cancer fighting technologies in the 21st century

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Cancer, one of the leading causes of death and one of the many reasons why the insurance industry is booming. A health insurance comparison site would encourage that one should look into getting a plan when they are younger rather than wait till they are older as the rates and benefits deteriorate with age.

Despite cancer’s longstanding harassment of humankind, why hasn’t it been eradicated? Surely with all that technology is capable of, this disease should have disappeared along with the birth of a 3D printer. Unfortunately, cancer is not one disease but a term for diseases that exhibit the same mutated cells and therefore require many different strains of study.

  1. MasSpec – a device to detect early stages of cancer

Anyone can tell you the best chance of survival from cancer is early detection. The MasSpec pen, a small handheld device, is said to be able to detect cancerous tissue in 10 seconds. It works by releasing a drop of water which is then reabsorbed by the pen, and the device is plugged into a mass spectrometer, “a piece of kit that can measure the mass of thousands of chemicals every second”. This makes the pen and the kit a unit, and while the pen is quite affordable, the machine is much too expensive and bulky for it to be of practical use for every cancer patient. Scientists are trying to develop a smaller device which is not as costly.

  1. Keytruda – employing the body’s own immune system

Hailed as the “biggest breakthrough since chemotherapy”, Keytruda is an immunotherapy drug which stimulates the body’s immune system to fight against cancer cells. It has recently been approved for use and the first line of patients are those with metastatic lung cancer. While it might not be a standalone cure, it will potentially become a part of the holy trinity, otherwise known as the three pillars of cancer therapy which includes radiation, chemotherapy and surgery.

  1. Vaccines – preventative measures against the development of cancer

There are currently two known vaccines which are used commonly – HPV and Hepatitis B. Much like any other vaccine, these contain a strain of the virus and induce the production of its antibodies. These viruses are known to “cause or contribute to the development of cancer“. Another less known vaccine exists in Cuba for lung cancer and is in the midst of being made available in the States. However, due to clinical trials for the drug CimaVax, it has not been made public at this point.

  1. Smartphones – aiding research by running stimulations

A big part of cancer research is the amount of power and time poured into stimulations. By downloading an app, anyone can contribute to finding a cure for childhood cancer. Designed to be non-intrusive, it does not run when a smartphone’s battery is below 90% and only functions through wifi.

  1. Information – learning how to survive the disease

Too many people have succumbed to cancer due to alternative or holistic methods, without the proper understanding of what their disease is. While there are stories of patients recovering from cancer through non-proven methods, it would be unwise to do so without consulting with an oncologist. It is extremely important to comprehend the disease in order to combat it through informed decisions.

Role of SEO in Web Development

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Think web design and what instantly comes to mind is the look and feel of a website. Web development is the construction of a website for the internet. Web development can vary from a static, single page text to dynamic pages and internet applications. From the perspective of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), a website design includes all this and more. SEO is architecture of the website that encompasses everything that makes a site search engine-friendly.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) goes beyond website development. It constitutes a range of activities such as content, keywords and title tags. Search engine optimization is a methodology by which developers make websites visible to internet programs that are constantly crawling the internet for new content. Search Engine Optimization is of vital importance to web design as even a well-designed website would be useless if no one has the wherewithal to find it. A web designer needs to strike a good balance between web design and SEO to create SEO-compliant sites that can be crawled faster and easier by search engines.

The SEO process features some crucial elements.

SEO boosts the ranking of a website on the web. Thanks to SEO, users searching for products that are available on an SEO website will be able to view the website immediately after typing the keywords.

The chosen domain should make sense, and all variations and sub-domains should lead to the main site and to a single version of the site. Example.com is the most commonly used domain name, but there are equally noteworthy ones.

Website hosting is the culmination of the website development process. The hosting should be fast, platform-specific and located in the vicinity of the audience as a slow website makes for unhappy users.

The content management system (CMS) has a major impact on the success of a business. One needs to ensure that a CMS is a good fit for business, rather than be swayed by the web company’s preferences.

Creating SEO-based content depends on various factors such as keywords and the actual content itself. Keywords, when used in different variants and placed in the proper context, provide a much-needed boost to search engine optimization. Variations are important as the same word can render the content repetitive and boring. Moreover, short content pieces should not use the same keyword more than three times and important keywords should be placed at the beginning of the text, preferably within the first 50 words. Data trackers play an important role in detecting people using the same keywords and determining appropriate keywords. It would pay to invest in SEO services from a digital marketing agency.

SEO is indispensable to web development and is driven by technological advances. One should, however, not lose sight of the human element as SEO rankings ultimately hinge on the extent of human interest.

What to expect in Italy

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If you haven’t been to Italy, it’s on the top of your destination list. And if you have been to Italy, well, you most likely are planning your next trip there for a second round. How can you not like Italy? The jaw-dropping scenery, the mouth-watering food, and of course, the charm of the Italian people are all factors of why Italy is a top tourist destination. Regardless of all its splendour, there are some things you need to know before travelling to Italy.

You’re going to eat late
When in Italy, do what the Italians do. Actually, you won’t have much choice as most restaurants won’t open until 7pm. So, you’ll want to plan to eat a late dinner. But, remember, before dinner, most of the shops and cafes will close between 1-4pm for riposino which is an afternoon nap, meaning if you’re hungry, it’s best to hit the local supermarket before then.

Do you need a visa?
Some nationalities are privileged with being able to enter Italy and other European countries without a visa, however, many are not. Before travelling to Italy, check and see if you need a visa. If you’re planning on travelling around Europe, including Italy, then you need to check if you need a Schengen visa. If so, you’ll need to schedule an Italy visa appointment from London. If you live in another country outside of England, you’ll need to inquire about the application process in your country.

Learn some basic Italian
Italy is not like other countries such as the Sweden, Israel or Germany, where English is commonly spoken as a second language. When in Italy, most people do not speak English. It’s best if you have a couple of important phrases written down that you’ll be able to use when you need help. If languages aren’t your strong suit, then, prior to speaking English, ask them, “Parla l’Inglese?” They won’t feel attacked and will be more willing to help you out.

Take advantage of their public transportation
If you’re planning on travelling around Italy, going from city to city, then you should take advantage of their train system. Italy has an advanced high-speed railway which can take you from the North of Italy to the South. But, if you want to experience Italy’s rail system, you need to book your ticket in advance. Not only will you save yourself some money with an early booking but you’ll reserve yourself a seat.

You won’t be able to see it all
Even with a 90 day Schengen visa, you won’t be able to witness all of Italy’s beauty. In reality, you’ll need to visit Italy a couple times just to see half of what you want to see. The north and south of Italy are completely different, with different foods, wines, and culture for you to indulge. But, not seeing everything at once isn’t a bad thing, right? This just means you’ll need to go again and again and again.

What you need to know about the Schengen visa

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If you’re planning to travel across Europe, rather than applying for multiple visas, instead, you can opt for the Schengen visa which covers most of the countries in Western and Northern Europe (28 to be exact). The Schengen visa allows you to stay up to 90 days within a 6-month period in the Schengen zone for either business or pleasure. But before you schedule a Schengen visa appointment, there are some things you need to know about the Schengen visa.

Not everyone needs to apply for a Schengen visa
You may be thinking that regardless of where you’re from, you need a Schengen visa. However, not all nationalities need to apply for the Schengen visa, rather, the visa is granted to them automatically when they’re at the border. Now, this makes it super easy for some people, however, if you’re not one of the lucky nationalities that have this privilege, then you need to apply for the visa.

You can move freely between 28 countries
Think of the Schengen visa like an access card to all the countries within the Schengen zone. With this visa, you’re able to move freely between all the Schengen countries without having to go through passport control. The Schengen visa includes countries such as Portugal, Greece, France, Austria, Italy, and Malta. So, whether you’re interested in tasting some delicious Italian pasta or exploring the nature of Iceland, you’ll be able to flip from country to country with this visa.

The day you enter and leave count as a day in the Schengen
If you don’t want to be interrogated at the border, you need to leave the country before your visa expires. This is a crucial mistake that many people make and the punishments can be harsh. Countries like Germany and Switzerland are particularly strict with entry and exit. When you enter the Schengen zone and leave the Schengen zone, both days count as a part of your visa. It doesn’t matter the time of day your passport was stamped, count that day in your visa. If you’re unsure about the day you entered the Schengen zone, look at the stamp in your passport.

Do you want to extend your visa?
Many people find that 90 days is simply not enough to see all of Europe. So, they want to extend their visa. Makes sense, right? You are given the opportunity to extend your visa, however, you must apply prior to your visa expiring. Here’s the thing, it’s not easy to get an extension. You’re going to need to strong reason as to why you want to stay. It’s up to the immigration authorities of whether or not they want you to stay. In other words, you better have a better reason then, “I haven’t been to Italy yet”.

Keep track of the days
It’s a hassle but it’s something that you need to pay attention to. When travelling, you need to keep count of how many days you were in and out of the Schengen zone. Remember, you’re allocated 90 days of travel within the zone, that’s it. Don’t forget to include your day of entry and exit in your 90 days as well.

Should UWA Student Startups Have Cyber Insurance?

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All businesses need to have some types of insurance to protect them. Workers’ compensation insurance is required by law in many areas, and product liability and general liability insurance are musts to protect the integrity of your company.

Now there’s a new type of insurance emerging, and it’s seemingly growing in importance: cyber insurance. Meant to protect companies and entrepreneurs against hacks, data breaches, and online threats, cyber insurance is a safety net for modern, data-centric businesses.

But is it really worth the money? And should your business have it?

What Is Cyber Insurance?

Let’s start by defining exactly what cyber insurance is and how it can be used. In general, cyber insurance is designed to protect businesses against most types of cyber threats, including any financial damages or losses that arise from those threats.

While policies will vary based on providers and client needs, these are some of the most reliable hallmarks of your average cyber insurance policy:

  • Data recovery. If your business’s data is corrupted or damaged, your cyber insurance policy may be able to compensate you for the costs of recovering it. This might include forensic data recovery, or other strategies meant to repair or retrieve lost records. It may also include the costs necessary to re-gather information.
  • Damage compensation. You’ll probably be compensated for whatever damage the data breach does to the business. For example, if you lose a piece of hardware to a cyberattack, your cyber insurance policy will likely cover the costs of a new model.
  • Defense costs. Cyberattacks can be even costlier if your customers decide to take legal action against your business. Most cyber insurance policies will pay for some or all of your defense costs as you attempt to make things right.
  • Business disruption. While you’re sorting out the hack or data breach, you won’t be able to dedicate the same time or resources you once did to the core business. Some cyber insurance policies also have a business disruption or interruption clause that can compensate you for some of the work you’d miss out on during this time.

How Much Does It Cost?

The costs for a cyber insurance policy vary based on several variables, including:

  • The size of your business (and managed assets). The bigger your business is, and the more data you have to protect, the more you’re going to pay for a cyber insurance policy.
  • Your risk factors. Some businesses have more risk factors than others. You might be in an industry that’s a common target for cybercriminals, or you might have more points of a vulnerability than other businesses. These will cost you more.
  • Your current level of cyber If you already have a good IT team, and solid security measures in place, you’ll probably get a discount on your policy.
  • The comprehensiveness of the policy. Of course, the nature of your policy will also factor into how much you pay; the more clauses and features you have, the more you’re going to spend.

Some large firms, such as those with up to $500 million in client assets, might pay $5,100 per year as a premium. Other small businesses with more basic policies might pay less than $1,000.

The Typical “Hack”

So is cyber insurance really necessary, or worth the money? Let’s take a look at the numbers. You can look at the biggest hacks to get a gauge for how expensive a cyber vulnerability can be; the total cost of the Equifax breach is estimated to be more than $600 million, though costs continue to climb. But even small-scale hacks can be costly. Cyberattacks cost businesses somewhere between $84,000 and $148,000. You might be able to swing those costs, but keep in mind that 60 percent of small businesses go under within six months of an attack. By comparison, even a pricey premium seems reasonable.

Your Risks

You should also consider what specific risk factors your business faces. Small businesses, for example, are especially vulnerable to attacks; not only do 36 percent of all hacks target small businesses, 83 percent of small businesses currently have no formal cybersecurity plan. Some industries, like the healthcare industry, are higher-value targets for hackers as well as offering a higher volume of available data. The catch-22 is that the more vulnerable your business is, the more you’ll need cyber insurance—but the more expensive it will be as well.

Is It Worth It?

So is cyber insurance worth it? That depends on the nature of your business, and how well-protected you are against a potential cyber threat. However, the prevalence and power of cyberattacks are increasing, so cyber insurance is becoming more important for business owners. And for most companies, this simple insurance policy is worth it.

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