Featured

Forest Hills Garden

If you’re in New York City and want to experience it like the locals, go visit Forest Hills Gardens.

Dating back to 1909, Forest Hills Gardens was designed by architect Grosvenor Atterbury (whose resume includes several works that are probably great but none of which I’d ever heard of) and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. (whose resume includes Central Park and the grounds of the 1893 World’s Fair…both sort of big deals).

Check out the gallery of images. You’d never expect to find this place situated in heart of Queens.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

What to Know for a Career in Big Data

What to Know for a Career in Big Data

Positions in big data and analytics are highly coveted right now, and you can turn an expertise in big data into a very lucrative and successful career. Before setting out and applying for these positions, there are few things you should know about the world of big data. By being well-versed on these topics, you will drastically increase your chances of landing that position you’ve been after.

Apache Hadoop

Although Hadoop is now over 20 years old, it is still the frontrunner in terms of storage and distribution architecture. It is an extremely powerful platform, but it is not without its flaws. Technicians versed in the components of Hadoop will be in high demand. Along with Hadoop, it’s a good idea to have a handle on Spark as it could be poised to take over Hadoop in the coming years.

NoSQL

Scale-out NoSQL databases are quickly rising and taking the place of outdated and underperforming SQL databases. These databases are often the source of the data that is then crunched in Hadoop. It is a good rule of thumb to learn them independently and be able to use them together since they essentially complete the big data cycle from opposite sides of the spectrum.

Data Mining

The idea of data mining has been around basically since the time we started collecting data. Be aware of the trends in data mining and how it is used throughout different industries. It takes a certain level of analysis and critical thinking to be able to perform effectively, but once you get it down you will make yourself much more valuable to any employer you apply to.

Machine Learning

Machine learning had a huge year in 2015, and it has only been getting bigger since that breakout. By being able to harness the power of machine learning, you can build predictive apps and train them to be highly analytic in terms of classification, recommendation, and personalization systems.

Data Interpretation and Visualization

With all of the technology out there in the world to interpret data, sometimes the best tool is still the human brain with a well-trained pair of eyes. There are tools out there to help break it down and make interpretation more manageable, but in reality, the best tool to rely on is you. If you want a career in big data and analyzation, you will need to be versed in current visualization tools along with being able to learn tools that haven’t even been developed yet.

Basic Programming

While you may not be applying for a programming position, it doesn’t hurt to have a general knowledge of the most common programming languages, especially SQL, Java, Javascript, C, and Python. This skillset may set you apart from your competition in the interview process and help you earn the job.

Problem Solving

Being able to solve problems, think critically, and be creative will go a long way in the world of big data. You will run into countless issues that will need to be rectified quickly. You’ll also need to constantly learn new technologies, and critical thinking will take you a long way in being able to adapt.

Big Data careers are gaining momentum as more companies are starting to gather and analyze information. Take the time to learn some or all of the above skills to give yourself the best chance of getting your dream job in big data.

What is the Internet of Things?

What is the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a common term that gets thrown around in the tech world, but if you are not part of that world on a daily basis you may not realize what all is covered by that broad term. Developers are pushing the boundaries of technology every day, and the Internet of Things will eventually be a part of everyone’s home.

On a broad spectrum, the IoT is an intricate system of devices that are connected and can transfer data over a network. All of these connected devices are considered “things” and the network is the “internet” giving us the Internet of Things.

A thing can be a smart car with a chip to notify the driver of any internal issues, a refrigerator with an internal camera that can be accessed from another thing (cell phone, tablet, etc.) remotely. A coffee maker that can be set to brew from your cell phone would be another example of a thing. Essentially, anything that can be assigned an IP address and has the ability to transfer data falls into this broad category of things.

Access to the internet is becoming widely available, and the cost of high-speed internet is also becoming more affordable each year. The cost of technology that allows devices to access the internet has also been increasing in affordability. These trends are allowing developers to take devices that are already mainstays in most households (fridge, microwave, coffee maker) and upgrade them with Wi-Fi capability and allow users to access them remotely via their cell phones.

The rush by developers to create Wi-Fi capable items and devices has experts excited about the future of the IoT. There are three relationships for these network connections: human-human, human-thing, and thing-thing. With the early success of the IoT, there is a mindset of “if it can be connected, it should be connected” and that mindset has grown the IoT tremendously in the past few years. Experts are forecasting that there will be over 26 billion connected devices by 2020, and most believe that is a conservative number. The real number could be upwards of over 100 billion.

The IoT will have a large impact on most American households in the not so distant future based on those forecasted numbers. Most people have one of two mindsets when it comes to this world of connects. They either wonder why you would want to be so connected to everything, or they wonder why you wouldn’t want to be. No matter what your thoughts are on the IoT, the reality is that these devices are already in production. I wouldn’t mind living in a world where my alarm clock goes off and sends my coffee maker a notification to start brewing, but that’s just me.

3 Essential PR Tips for Startups

3 Essential PR Tips for Startups

We are living in an age of entrepreneurship, and the opportunity to grow a startup to a multi-million dollar company is incentive enough for many people to start their own business. In the ever-changing world of startups, there needs to be a way to set your company apart from your competition. By using these PR tips, you’ll be able to help your company develop and manage a strong and unique identity.

Prepare for the Worst (and the Best)

When you first release your product to the world, there is no telling what kind of response you are going to get. You need to be aware that you may not get any press coverage at all, and you need to have an action plan in order for if that happens. What are you going to do if you don’t get a single phone call from a reporter or blogger? How are you going to market your company in the coming months to gain that press? On the flipside, you may release your product and you are getting more interview requests than you can possibly keep up with. Have a plan for any situation so you know where you are going to go regardless of what happens. A reactionary response without a plan will look and feel like desperation.

Identify your Target

Usually, when someone tells an entrepreneur to identify their target, that target is in terms of customers. I believe most entrepreneurs should already know who their customers are before they delve into the PR of their company. I’m talking about targets in terms of media outlets and journalists. You should have a growing list of places and people you want to contact with your releases as you write them. Make sure that your releases are tailored and personalized for each outlet and journalism, at least early on. That extra work to make a personal connection will go a long way to building relationships in the long run.

If you Need Help, Hire Help

If you are launching your product, you most likely do have someone who is dedicated to managing the public relations of your company. Even for an experienced PR professional it can be a daunting task to tackle a release. There are professionals out there who specialize in startup launches. Their services may be more expensive than your average firm, but the experience they bring from prior startup launches heavily outweighs the disaster you may have on your hands if you run into a PR nightmare.

Launching a startup is extremely difficult, and a lot of things need to go your way into order to launch successfully. There will never be a flawless launch, buy by covering your bases with these tips you will be on your way to generating great press.

 

The Future of Autonomous Vehicles

The Future of Autonomous Vehicles

It’s no surprise that the next big innovation in the automobile industry is fully autonomous vehicles. Automotive leaders across the world are all competing design the first mass-produced autonomous vehicle for commercial roadways. Driverless vehicles are already being utilized in the mining industry, and Tesla has rolled out vehicles with an autopilot mode over the past year. Some companies, Google included, have been testing driverless cars, but they are not being mass produced. So how far are we from seeing fully autonomous vehicles driving through our cities?

It seems hard to believe, but it has already been two years since Audi sent an autonomous A7 from San Francisco to CES in Las Vegas. The 569-mile journey was a monumental accomplishment for Audi and the autonomous community alike. The trip showed the capabilities of driverless vehicles even though they were not (and still are not) being mass produced.  

Tesla is the company that is usually top of mind in most autonomous vehicle conversations. The Autopilot feature on the Model S and Model X allows the driver have a hands-free “driving” experience. The Autopilot technology is constantly being improved via software updates, and the updates download in real time with over-the-air syncing. In December Tesla rolled out “Enhanced Autopilot” with a few key improvements. Enhanced Autopilot will match the speed of traffic conditions, keep within lanes or change lanes without needing driver input, transition from one freeway to another, exit the freeway, park in a parking spot, and be summoned to you from your garage. A Tesla recently predicted a collision two cars ahead of it on the freeway and alerted the driver before it happened.

There seems to be a common timeframe for other vehicle manufacturers to roll out autonomous cars to the masses. Ford made an announcement in August of 2016 that it will start shipping self-driving cars without steering wheels, brake pedals, or gas pedals by 2021. Ford CEO Mark Fields stated that the auto giant is moving towards being a mobility company instead of an auto company by launching a new subsidiary, Ford Mobility Solutions. Ford also plans on doubling up on employees in Silicon Valley and opening new offices and labs in Palo Alto. BMW, Toyota, Tesla, Volkswagon, and other manufacturers are all along the same timeline, give or take a year.

While sitting behind the lack of a wheel in an autonomous vehicle seems like something we’ll all be doing in the future, it is going to be a slow process. Vehicles will be rolled out in different stages and with different features. The technology needed to make a car fully autonomous will increase the price by roughly $10,000, and early predictions show that consumers will be very hesitant to make a purchase until the cars are proven to be safe.

The most important factor to getting these vehicles on the road comes in the form of laws and regulations. With autonomous vehicles taking the road, lawmakers must come up with a whole new rulebook to set the standards for driverless vehicles.

The 5 Best International Travel Destinations for 2017

The 5 Best International Travel Destinations for 2017

If there’s anything I learned from my travels in 2016 it is that I have only just started. There are so many places left in the world for me to experience, and sometimes I’m uncertain on how to decide where I should go next. I do know that I want to travel internationally more often, and I believe everyone should visit another country at least once in their life. I hope to get to at least one of the following places in 2017.

Queenstown, New Zealand

judd-bagley-queenstown

New Zealand is highly regarded as one of the most beautiful places on earth. If you can get past the sheer beauty of Queenstown, you can really start exploring why it is such a hotbed for tourists in recent months. The city is dubbed the adventure capital of New Zealand, and there’s no shortage of adventures to go on while you are there. Beautiful Victorian villas, delicious restaurants, and unique shops on every corner will have you contemplating staying for longer than your allotted vacation time.

Cape Town, South Africa

Judd Bagley-Cape Town.JPG

Did someone say African Penguins? After the awe factor of seeing African Penguins at Boulder Beach wears off, visitors can explore the rest of the quaint South African town. Jump on a tour bus for $35 to tour Cape Point, which is the southwestern most point in Africa. Take in an art walk or head to a local restaurant for one of the best fish dishes you can get anywhere. Thrill seekers can get the ultimate adrenaline rush by diving with over 40 different species of sharks.

Belfast, Northern Ireland

judd-bagley-belfast

If you are fan of feeling like you are ingrained into a culture while you are visiting a city, then Belfast should be at the top of your list of destinations in 2017. The streets are lined with open-air bars and restaurants, art galleries, and local businesses. Mix and mingle with the locals for a truly authentic Irish experience. The architecture is stunning throughout Belfast, and if you venture outside of the city you will be greeted with beautiful scenery as far as the eye can see.

Athens, Greece

Judd Bagley-Athens.jpg

Athens has a reputation of being a travel destination for history buffs, but the city has been expanding past its “old city” roots into a mecca for modern art. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center is home to the National Opera and the National Library of Greece, and it is in the biggest park in Athens. Authentic Greek souvlaki is a reason to visit Athens in itself, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg that is the phenomenal food scene in the city.

Kakslauttanen, Finland

judd-bagley-finland

Normally I would not suggest visiting somewhere so remote, but Kakslauttanen has the most intriguing activities of any city on this list. Many people have said that seeing the Northern Lights in action will change your life forever, and in Kakslauttanen you can see them from the comfort of a glass igloo. When you’re not gazing up at the sky you can set out on a reindeer safari or explore the nearby Urho National Park on a pair of ski shoes, or better yet, on a dog sled.

International travel often requires at least a full day to two days of travel so I would suggest booking for at least 10 days in any of the cities mentioned above. You don’t want to rush around trying to see anything and consequently miss out on truly experiencing anything.

National Parks Attendance is at an All Time High

National Parks Attendance is at an All Time High

For the third year in a row, the US National Parks set an all-time attendance record in 2016 with over 325 million people visiting the 127 parks across the United States. The previous record was set in 2015 with 307 million visitors, and prior to the past three years attendance ranged around the 260-270 million visitors mark.

The most popular parks in 2016 were the Grand Canyon at 5.9 million visitors, Rocky Mountain National Park at 4.5 million visitors, Yellowstone National Park at 4.3 million visitors, and Zion National Park at 4.3 million visitors.

The increase in attendance has been great for increasing awareness of the parks, but like most things, the attendance is a double-edged sword.  The National Park Service is elated that so many people want to visit the parks, but it also noted some of the issues that came along with the crowds: damage to areas around walking paths, an increase in litter, more injuries (human and animal) from visitors trying to interact with animals, and an increased number of people who refused to follow the few rules the parks have.

Park goers were also met with difficulties as they tried to enjoy the serenity of nature and the beauty of the parks. The issues arose before most people even got to the parks as they were met with long lines of traffic that resembled something more like the entrance of a theme park than a national park. Once they made it through the gate, most people were tasked with finding, and fighting over, a parking spot. Once parked, the struggle did not end as the most popular trails were usually filled with people. It was a far cry from the solitude that most visitors were imagining, which caused a lot of outrage leading to bad decisions throughout the year. One thing that was surprising was the amount of vandalism that occurred in parks in 2016. Regardless of how many people attended, any level of vandalism is alarming.

The National Parks Service is not scheduled for a budgetary increase anytime in the near future, despite the rapid increase in visitors. With millions of people attending and no increase in funding, the National Park Service is scrambling to find a solution to the problems they are encountering without the ability to hire more staffing or expand parking areas. One interesting idea that is picking up some traction is pre-registration and attendance caps going hand in hand. The idea revolves around giving the National Parks Service a better understanding of how many people they can expect on each day. The attendance cap would help create a better experience for park-goers by easing the size of the crowds. Pre-registration could be done online or over the phone. The project is just in the planning phase, but it could go into effect as soon as next year.

3 Big Data Trends for 2017

3 Big Data Trends for 2017

The term “Big Data” has only been around for the last decade or so, but in that time the use of big data has changed drastically. There most common definition of big data was coined by industry leader Doug Laney. He broke the definition up into the three Vs:

Velocity-Data comes in at an alarming rate and needs to be analyzed as soon as possible. Each year technology is making it easier for us to analyze the data in real time.

Variety-Data does not come in one specific format. It can be structured in traditional databases or unstructured documents such as text, email, video, and audio formats.

Volume-Data comes from many different sources and there is a lot of it, hence the term “Big Data.” New technologies are making it easier to compress and store the waves of data coming in.

For a long time, the data was compiled, and not a whole lot was done with it. In recent years, technologies have allowed us to use big data to streamline processes, discover trends, and even catch criminals. Big data has a bright future as it is something we are only recently understanding. Look for it to play a big role in the following ways in 2017.

Cloud Computing

Companies of all sizes are strategizing on ways to take their applications to the cloud, and the same goes for big data analytics. The ability to host data on the cloud instead of in data centers not only gives greater flexibility to companies in terms of where the data is stored, but it also allows those companies to move to a subscription-based service instead of signing multi-year deals on equipment to store data. Cloud service providers are now offering big data processing platforms, which makes the transition much easier.

Real-Time Analytics

Now that big data has been compiled and technology is getting better at sorting that data, executives are going to be making a push towards getting real-time analytics. Having the data is great, but the business world does not slow down or stop for anything, and if executives can have the data results in real time it will give them better insight into the next step they can take.

Incorporation of Dark Data

There is a huge amount of dark data that could be beneficial to companies, but it has yet to be cataloged and analyzed. So many companies have piles of physical documents, videos, and important corporate files that have yet to be converted to digital data. There will be a strong push to add all of these documents to databases in 2017 to help give a more comprehensive view of performance trends and cycles through the history of the company.

As more and more data streams into data centers across the world, we are tasked with the challenge of using it in a constructive and beneficial way for business and society as a whole. The future of big data is bright and exciting, and the technology that is being developed to analyze it will only improve its functions moving forward. Read more about big data and bitcoin at www.juddbagley.io.