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All articles in AusTech are written and submitted by UWA students, however they remain unedited and uncensored upon publication. This is great, as it give students a place to share their writing, however there have been some recent cases of students publishing articles that contain subtle advertising. We are deeply sorry that such content was found on the site, but we were able to swiftly remove it thanks to prompt whistleblowing by our blog readers. If you find any spam, advertising, or offensive content either in articles or the comments section, please contact us immediately and we will promptly edit or remove any articles as necessary. Thank you.

Why all UWA Comp Sci Students Should Learn Xamarin for App Development

When it comes to cross-application mobile development, Xamarin has been popular for a number of reasons. If you’re a developer or project manager, enlisting in Xamarin training would give your team an edge in this highly competitive arena.

The fact that more than 20% of Fortune 500 companies use Xamarin for app development proves that it’s quickly finding its way into the market. And the fact that Xamarin has partnered with Microsoft who now include templates for cross-platform app building with Xamarin directly in MS Visual Studio should be a sign for developers to update their toolbox.

Traditionally, an app is cross-platform if it works on all device platforms such as Android, iOs, Windows and so on. However, recently, the term “cross-platform” is applied more towards those approaches that facilitate the sharing of a single code base on multiple devices.

If you want to launch an app that works on various platforms, there are three ways to do this. First, you could natively develop an app for each platform. Second, you could create a web app wrapped as a native app. And third, you could do it cross-platform, as a hybrid or with HTML5.

If you want to make a native app for each platform, you have to create a smartphone application that is coded in a specific programming language designed for a particular platform, such as Objective C for iOs and Java for Android operating systems.

This means you would have to design and develop apps for all the desired platforms individually. While it may provide a better user experience, it can be a rather expensive proposition. You would have to separately pay iOs, Windows and Android developers to come up with a single app. Native app development would be more expensive in this case than hybrid or cross-platform development.

The second mobile app development option would be to create a web application wrapped as a native application. This approach would use a web browser and web-view concepts to create an app that runs on all devices.

This requires the developer to write the code in one language, and then a pre-built cross-platform tool would create apps for all other platforms. Frameworks such as Sencha and Adobe PhoneGap follow this approach.

However, the downside is that can remove what users liked about the app in the first place. It can end up stripping away all the look and feel inherent with a native app of that platform. While it may be good for some apps, in many cases it would just annoy and irritate users who are already used to their phone’s native UI.

Besides developing native or web apps, the third option would be cross-platform native applications. It would be a write once, work for all solution. It would allow you to create native apps using different UI for different platforms.

Tools of this trade are Xamarin and Titanium. It divides the mobile development into two main areas, core and platform specific. Xamarin has taken it a step further. They provide an abstraction over different native APIs and allow developers to create cross-platform apps with nearly 100% code reuse. Unlike Titanium and Adobe PhoneGap, Xamarin uses C# and comes with a Visual Studio plugin which allows hassle-free code management.

“Dent-tech” is Changing the Face of Dentistry

Dental hygiene can be expensive, especially if you are making constant trips to see professionals. In order to help you save smartly, we have compiled a list of four products that will help improve your oral hygiene in the comfort of your own home.

Teeth Whitening Kit

Due to possible genetic discoloration, or too much coffee at work and red wine at happy hour, your teeth has lost its shine. You can opt for a portable and efficient teeth whitening kit that includes gel and bleaching technology. Compact and ideal for those who want to do this at home, this is perfect for anyone who cannot find the time to go to the dentist. There a lot of complete kits online, but if I were you, I would choose the cruelty free and vegan friendly GO GO Smile Whitening Kit.

Electric toothbrush

Plaque grows from morsels of food being left forgotten in the nooks and crannies of your teeth and along your gumline. It’s not like you don’t brush your teeth, but these sections are usually difficult to reach. With a rotating head, the electric toothbrush bristles ensure thorough brushing. Go for the high-tech option to forgo bad breath and bleeding gums.

Sanitation pods

My dad likes to dip his toothbrush in a glass of warm water at least an hour before he uses it, because he “wants to clear away the germs”. If you don’t have my dad’s discipline (I know I don’t) you might want to try these cleaning pods. A clip-on protector for any kind of toothbrush (electric or regular), the “active vapors” will help keep the bristles fresh and clean up to three months.

Water Flosser

Also known as an oral irrigator, this is a cleaning device that emits a thin stream of water which helps clean between your teeth and along your gums to remove food particles and plaque. Although this device has to be plugged into an outlet, requires a reservoir of water and is not as portable as regular floss, this method is more gentle on your gums. It is also good for people with braces or dry mouths.

Next-level Mouthwash

Another product that helps eliminate bad breath (accumulation of plaque and bacteria), is mouthwash. Fluoride mouthwash will help reduce sensitivity and cavities. That being said, you should not dilute mouthwash with water, because you will reduce the amount of Flouride coating your teeth. Some mouthwashes are also available for oral cancer, which help in reducing discomfort and pain. I suggest going for Biotene mouthwashes, which is a combination of an enzyme-based protection ingredient with soothing mouth moisturizers. You can find a lot of effective mouthwashes in your local drugstore.

5 Technologies That Make Parenting Easier

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Raising children is a full-time commitment. Often parents are subject to stress just thinking about their children growing up. Technology is improving the lives of many, and parents are definitely not excluded. Here is our list of 5 technologies that revolutionise modern parenting.

  1. Hatch Baby Rest light

Described by the company as a “Night light, sound machine, and Ok-to-wake indicator in one modern device, designed to control and program conveniently from your phone. Hatch Baby Rest is a combination night light and sound machine that helps children to bed. “Parents can control the brightness and sound from their phone to aid in night time routines.

  1. Owlet smart sock

The owlet smart sock is a sock that allows parents to monitor your infant’s heart rate and oxygen levels from the comfort of your home. Helping parents sleep more and stress less, it measures a baby’s oxygen levels and heart rate, and will alert parents if it detects anything abnormal.

  1. Willow milk pump

Despite it’s name, this has nothing to do with breast enhancement or a mummy makeover. Willow reinvented the concept of a milk pump, making it easier for nursing mothers to retrieve milk, and saving time. According to Time.com, “the pump fits inside a maternity bra and doesn’t require the use of hands. There are no cords or tubes and it’s much quieter than typical pumps. It also tracks output, while the pump’s bags can be immediately transferred to the freezer.”

  1. Issa Mikro toothbrush

Tooth brushing can be a difficult task for children. The ISSA mikro is a baby electric toothbrush that combines silicone bristles with gentle sonic pulsations, making it a safe, effective and fun way to teach children to brush their teeth.

Mobile applications:

With mobility devices becoming commonplace, mobile applications designed for parents have revolutionised parenting. These are our three favourite applications to help parents in various stages of their children’s development.

  • Sprout Baby

Caring for a child requires a lot of scheduling. Sprout baby lets you log diaper changes, naps, feedings, doctor appointments, milestones, and more. A sharing function allows multiple users to see information on the same child, thereby allowing multiple family members to take care of the child without worrying if the child has been fed, or has had diapers changed.

  • Mama Bear Family Safety

Safety is always in the forefront of parents’ minds. The MamaBear Family Safety app is a way to help protect your family by giving you glimpses of your kids’ activities when you are apart. This app shares their location when they are away from home, and monitors their use of text messages and social media.

  • ChoreMonster

Choremonster is lets parents make a list of chores for their kids and keep track of them. The children have a separate log-in to see the chores, check them off, and earn points. Parents can add rewards that your kids can “purchase” with their points after they have accumulated a certain amount.

Technology has helped parents for generations – the technologies featured have helped parents revolutionise the way they care for their children, taking away unnecessary stress.

5 Rising Aussie Psych-Tech Startups

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With companies like Atlasssian, Envato and Canva being recognised internationally, Australia has proven to be successful in producing groundbreaking tech enterprises. Recently the country is starting to ramp up its enthusiasm for startups, particularly in the health sector. The intersection of tech and neurology or psychology is one trend that has emerged in its healthcare innovation. From web-based mental health services to virtual realities designed to alter your mood, here’s a list of cool Australian start ups in psychology and neurology worth checking out:

Inventium

Inventium is a consultancy company that helps organizations build a culture that fosters innovation. Founded by an innovation psychologist who authored the books “The Innovation Formula” and “The Creativity Formula”, Inventium drives commercial outcomes in companies using a science-based approach that applies the latest findings from neurology and psychology. Considering that 85 percent of this year’s top 20 Most Innovative Companies have a formal innovation process, the functional diversity that the company’s team of psychologist assemble can result in significant impacts. “People think of innocation as free flowing and spontaneous,” said Amantha Imber. “There’s elements of that, but without structure around it your business won’t be able to harness the innovation and resource it appropriately.” Inventium’s clients include a large number of ASX200 and Fortune500 companies from around the world.

Emotiv

Advanced artificial intelligence has yet to arrive, but technologies like Emotiv gives us a glimpse of what the future might look like. Emotiv uses simple to use, EEG mobile technology that could revolutionise our interaction with the world. Recognized by the scientific community worldwide, the bioinformatics company is working on identifying biomarkers for mental and other neurological conditions using EEG. The applications is far-reaching, spanning a variety of potential industry sectors from interactive television to psychology and transport safety. The company has earned a handful of awards including Australian International Design Awards and Australian Engineering Excellent Awards.

Smiling Mind

When people think of meditation they tend to think of chanting in the lotus position somewhere in isolation. The truth is, mindfulness can be practiced and cultivated anywhere, anytime, even while doing your everyday tasks. Clinical psychologist and CEO of the Smiling Mind app calls this “informal mindfulness”. This is what he aims to bring into people’s busy lives with the meditation app. The app, which hit over 2 million downloads, teaches people how to turn their daily chores into a form of meditation by approaching them with a self-awareness and curiosity. “We all do things every day to maintain our health and hygiene. What you might not know is that we can choose to do these mindfully by slowing down and focusing on what we’re doing,” Wooten said.

Liminal VR

Taking mind alteration to the next level, Liminal VR allows you a shortcut to augmenting your state of mind through a combination of neuroscience and design principles in virtual reality. The VR induces a range of cognitive and emotional states, starting with calming energy, with the mission of putting people in the right headspace to start their days with. The technology was tested in hospital patients who often spend a long period of time in hospitals with little interaction and feel isolated and lonely. It is hoped that the virtual stimulation will be the perect escape for patients. At the moment, most hospitals and health insurers view virtual reality as too expensive, but the technology is becoming increasingly viable and the healthcare sector is excited about its possibilities of improving the lives of patients across the world.

Uprise

Uprise makes accessing local counselling and psychotherapy professionals easy. The startup offers companies of all sizes a digital series of therapies, starting with one of the most effective treatments in psychology, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It was founded by a clinical psychologist who has over 10 years of clinical experience treating patients with a range of anxiety and depressive disorders. By allowing people to access CBT with privacy and at a fraction of the and cost, founder Dr Jay Spence hopes to help employees become the best version of themselves and achieve more at work.

Why UWA’s Comp Sci Students Should Be Mastering Microsoft Azure

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Microsoft Azure is undoubtedly a welcome launch for all application developers & IT professionals. It can be defined as a growing ensemble of integrated cloud services that helps to design, execute & manage applications from anywhere. It was initially announced as “Azure” in 2008, then “Windows Azure” in 2010 and finally as “Microsoft Azure” 3 years ago. One of the best parts of Microsoft Azure is that it allows users to build apps with almost any tool and framework. Put simply, it will add a new dimension to the world of app building. Thus, UWA Comp Sci undergrads should hone up their Azure know-how for better career prospects in application development.

Microsoft Azure builds, tests, deploys and manages applications and services via a global web of data centers managed by Microsoft. An advanced digital transformation, it’s backed by all the major features required to design a robust virtual network & deliver applications to a global audience.

Making things faster & easier

Microsoft Azure elevates the productivity level of any app developer. Designed with pre-built templates, integrated tools and managed services, Azure makes it more convenient and faster to build and manage apps. For all three major app categories (web, mobile and IoT), Microsoft Azure is fast becoming the standalone choice for developers

High flexibility

Microsoft Azure is engineered with developers’ convenience in mind. Thus, it is compatible with all major programming languages, operating systems, databases, tools and devices. Whether you have to integrate Docker in Linux containers or build applications with Python or PHP or Java, Azure is flexible with most existing technologies used by IT professionals.

Easy integration with existing IT

Unlike the traditional cloud companies, Azure smoothly integrates with existing IT structure. It is armed with a large web of secured private connections, edgy hybrid database and storage features, data residency and advanced encryption solutions. Thanks to Azure Stack, one can now use Azure application development and deployment into their own datacenter. Simply put, Microsoft Azure allows a broader range of IT options, lowers cost and less complexity.

Robust protection for data

Microsoft Azure eliminates all the usual safety worries of most cloud services. The product assures industry leading data protection and privacy. The company is the 1st cloud company accredited by EU’s data safety authorities given its strict compliance to the EU privacy regulations. Microsoft is also a pioneer in adopting the latest global cloud data privacy standards, namely ISO 27018.

Efficient disaster recovery

Microsoft Azure is powered with geographically decentralized high-speed infrastructure. This design assures excellent disaster recovery, much to the relief of users.

Powered with predictive Analytics

Moreover, Azure is backed by advanced predictive analytics features such as- Cortana Analytics, Machine Learning and Stream Analytics. These analytics services have rendered a new edge to business intelligence, making it smarter and more functional. Users benefit from discovery of amazing business opportunities from their IoT data. Finally, Microsoft Azure also assures easy scalability with packages so that you only have to pay for what you need.

Why UWA’s Computer Science and Business Students Should Be ITIL Certified

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What Is ITIL? 

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) provides the minimum quality benchmarks for IT service management. It is a set of best practices for all IT services. With the ever changing requirements of IT companies, ITIL set the standard for all process management.

The majority of organisations use information technology. ITIL provides the standards to which processes, procedures and tasks, of which are non-organisation specific, must be implemented. It allows all organisations to establish a baseline and also measure for improvement. Basically, ITIL ensures users a consistent experience.

Organisations can benefit hugely from ITIL through a number of ways. These include

  • Increased productivity
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • More efficient utilization of resources
  • Increased staff retention
  • Clearer visibility to IT costs

What Can An ITIL Certification Do For Me?

As there are currently few ITIL certified professionals, there are many benefits to completing an ITIL foundation certification course. These include

  • Better pay
  • Better skills
  • Increased credentials
  • Better job prospects

Due to the increasing demand of ITIL certified professionals, not only will you benefit from having a better skill set, with a stronger foundation, you will also be give the upper hand in an extremely competitive job market. Having an ITIL certification gives you a far better chance at the higher paid jobs, with ITIL certified professionals earning on average $119,248 a year. This makes ITIL experts amongst the highest paid professionals in the IT industry.

Should I Become Certified?

 The IT industry is possibly one of the quickest developing industries in the world. There are constant changes and advancement in equipment used and set standards. Becoming ITIL certified shows that you are a true professional, an expert in your field. Not only can it provide you with better paid job opportunities, it also provides your organisation with the confidence and knowledge that you are a highly certified professional, with a comprehensive understanding of the best practices and benchmarks provided for services.

What Next?

Once you have decided to complete an ITIL foundation certification course, which covers key elements, concepts and terminology used in ITIL. You can then progress onto intermediate, expert and master levels to further show your expert knowledge. Anyone can take the course, as there are no requirements for any previous certifications. All you need is the ability to learn and the drive to become one of the best professionals within the IT industry.

In summary, ITIL sets the benchmark standards for all IT service management. It allows you to earn more money, increase your skills and progress onto more favourable job offers. Not only that, it provides the organisation with a certain level of confidence that only a professional certification can provide. If you want to stay ahead, and distinguish yourself above the rest, then an ITIL certification is the way to go.

Online ReactJS Training for UWA Computer Science Students

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What is React?

React is an open-source Javascript library for building user interfaces maintained by Facebook, Instagram, and a community of individual corporations. React is a declarative, efficient, and flexible JavaScript library for building user interfaces.

React is used on the likes of websites of Netflix, Imgur, Buffer, Bleacher Report, Feedly, Airbnb, SeatGeek, HelloSign, Walmart.

Why React?

React makes it painless to create interactive UIs. It allows you to design simple views for each state in your application, and React will efficiently update and render just the right components when your data changes. React is component based, meaning you can build encapsulated components that manage their own state, then compose them to make complex UIs.

The benefits in a nutshell:

  • You can always tell how your component will render by looking at one source file.
  • Bundling Javascript and HTML into JSX makes components easily understandable.
  • You can render React on the server.
  • Since component logic is written in JavaScript instead of templates, you can easily pass rich data through your app and keep state out of the DOM.
  • Declarative views make your code more predictable and easier to debug.Works great for teams, strongly enforcing UI and workflow patterns
  • UI code is readable and maintainable

Componentized UI is the future of web development, and you need to start doing it now.

Learning React can be daunting. Documentation is not accessible, or good by any means. The documentation can be overwhelming to look at, much less get your head around. It may help to have development experience with an intermediate level of expertise in JavaScript, and some exposure to any server technology (J2EE, .NET, Ruby etc). There are some difficult React concepts to get your head around, such as elements, components, props, and state. Fortunately, there are easier ways to learn ReactJS.

How can I start learning it?

There are many ways you can start learning React. There are many online training courses available to learn React – one example is Zeolearn.

Zeolearn brings a full-fledged instructor-led online course that will take you from the basics to the advanced concepts of React.js and teach you the ropes of building rich internet applications using React.js, Flux and Redux. To summarise:

  • Instructor led live online classes
  • Intensive, hands on sessions for a thorough grasp of concepts
  • Training by industry experts
  • Learn to build large scale rich applications with React.js
  • Learn from the comfort of your home
  • 24 hours immersive Hands-on training sessions

Choosing a Free VPN Service for Students

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The world wide web is bustling with a sea of information and resources. But there are also restrictions. Almost every college and university network blocks access to certain content if it deems it to be disruptive for students. On the other hand, some countries exercise strict constraints on their contents and do not allow users from other nations to view them. This is where VPN facilities comes in handy, and can help UWA undergrads. VPN software hides your IP address so that you can easily access and enjoy the restricted contents on the web. As per reports, VPN usage is skyrocketing in Australia and a major niche of VPN users are students. The best part is that free VPN services are on the rise, making things further convenient and economical for everyone.

Let’s see how free VPN facilities help students:

Cost effectiveness

This is the obvious benefit free VPN services. Students are always struggling for pocket-money every month. In such a situation, signing up with a VPN service is more a necessary extra. But free VPN providers have proved some of the best stuff in the world still doesn’t cost a thing.

Unrestrained access to restricted contents

What if you urgently need a news report on the Chinese industrial sector for your research and you are unable to access it given the virtual geo-restrictions? China is one of those countries that do not provide easy access to its news and websites to foreign browsers. Free VPN service is your lifesaver here. As mentioned earlier, VPN software installed in your computer or laptop will ensure your IP address is never disclosed. This way you will have the gateway to whichever web content you want, regardless of geo-restrictions.

VPN facilities also open your doors to all those amazing series and movies that are under Netflix’s geo-restrictions.

Better safety online

This is one of the most important benefits of VPN services. Students are always on the lookout for free Wi-Fi hotspots to save money. But your university and local café hotspots are used by thousands of others. You never know what they are doing online and what their intentions are. In fact, these free internet gateways are often a playground for identity theft. But VPN users are always secure from such nuisances. VPN software camouflage a user’s actual IP address, encrypt their data & protect them from identity theft.

No issues with blocked file sharing

College or University networks sometimes block file-sharing activities for students. That’s a huge challenge, especially when you are working on a major group project and have to share files among your friends. But VPN services take care of such issues, making things smoother for your group project.

How to choose a free VPN service provider

  • First, get a shortlist of the 4-5 potential free VPN service providers online. You must get a comparative study on them before you choose your VPN service provider. Check their market reputation and also what previous users say about them. Focus on the one with highest market reputation and the longest list of happy users.
  • Second, check the number and location of its servers. Ask the company how many countries it covers. There is no point in taking to a VPN service if it does not provide access to a restricted content that you need for your paper.
  • Your chosen company should also promise complete virtual privacy for its users. Make sure it guarantees a no-tracking policy of user’s web activities. Not all free VPN providers practice such discretion.
  • The VPN provider must allow you to choose from several VPN protocols as per your specific protection needs.
  • Finally, the VPN company should ensure easy compatibility will all major browsing devices and operating systems.

UWA Student Entrepreneurs Looking to Outsource a Web Design Company? Here’s what you should look for…

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With web sites becoming ever more important in today’s modern age, it is imperative that your business establish an official presence on the web. With web design in high demand, this means that that are many design agencies to choose from. How do you know what you really need? Making the final decision as to which agency you are going to go with can prove to be a difficult task.

Below are just a few of the things to look for when choosing a Web design company.

Be Open and Informative

With a new web site comes an exchange of ideas. It is important that a web design agency listens to what you have to say. An agency needs to make it their mission to understand what your business is all about because they need to be able to portray your business accurately online. You should not be afraid to voice your own vision for the web site, and the agency should take your ideas into account. On the other hand, the agency should provide guidance and suggestions for the web site as well. Sharing ideas with a professional designer ensures an accurate reflection of your business on the web.

Be Knowledgeable and Experienced

It makes sense that you would want an experienced web design agency to handle your Web site. Over time, they have acquired expert knowledge of industry standards and trends, the different devices and web browsers used, and the tactics implemented when designing a successful web site. If an agency has been around for quite some time and it is apparent that they plan to continue, it means that they can be trusted to not only do a good job, but that they can be depended upon to provide further support in the future.

One way to know how figure out the experience level of an agency is by browsing through their portfolio. Most often, agencies have an online portfolio on their web site. By browsing through their work, you can see what they are capable of creating. You are able to get a sense of their style, and decide on whether not it matches your tastes. Web design company Sydney is an example of a company that is able to provide many tailored products and services catered to their clients.

Know Responsive Design

Responsive design is a web design trend that is here to stay. It is an advanced way to make a website shift, contract and expand to fit any screen size. With new technology constantly coming out and the proliferation of mobile devices, responsive coding enables you to stay up to date. Instead of designing multiple templates for different devices, responsive design involves only one template for all devices.

Know Marketing and Conversion

While an attractive web site design increases your chances of being noticed and obtaining site visitors’ attention and business, the right marketing tactics definitely increases your chances even more so. A web design agency should be aware of how to market effectively and be knowledgeable of marketing best practices. They should know to draw an audience in.