Category Archives for Software Design

Is Deleted Content on Your Smartphone Gone for Good?

phonecourt

Mobile phone innovation is as intense as it’s ever been, and there are no signs of it slowing down. Their continued evolution has transformed them into mini-computers that have completely changed user habits – be it for work, shopping, entertainment or other aspects of our lives. The ever-increasing use of these smartphones means they’ll handle nearly as much data as our normal desktop and laptop computers do. And it’s in that – data – where the real value lies for the consumer.

Importance of Smartphone Data

Sure, the actual handset itself with up-to-date camera functionalities and internal processors make it an expensive piece of kit. But when it comes to damaging or losing a phone, most users will tell you it’s the content stored within the device which causes the most concern. Be it for emotional, convenience or privacy reasons, they dread the idea of losing that data.

So with that in consideration, have you ever wondered how data is treated when it’s deleted? With no visible recycling bin, is it even possible to retrieve messages, photos, calendar entries and call history? Or does deleted content get permanently deleted? Well, to serve your curiosity – especially if you’re thinking of recovering content – read on to see just how smartphones handle the data they store.

How is data saved?

Smartphones store information using flash memory – a storage medium that allows data to be retained without the need for a power supply. It’s a non-volatile method of storing data that can be electronically erased and reprogrammed. This makes flash memory ideal for digital cameras, portable storage devices and smartphones.

Depending on the make and manufacturer, a smartphone will store data in different ways. iPhones, for example, are known to provide only built-in internal memories for their handsets. Android phones are more flexible and, in addition to the internal memory of the device, will give users the option of expandable memory through micro SD cards. Both, however, offer the convenience of cloud storage – the ability to save and back up data to an online source.

How is data deleted?

Although there are many ways to break a smartphone, here are the three most commont:

  • Physical damage – be it an accidental drop or some water damage, the memory chip within the handset can stop functioning properly if the circuit board has failed or various components have worn out.
  • System errors – corrupt / incorrect file formats or malicious apps can break links in file structures, making some data inaccessible or not displaying correctly. Although these broken files may not appear to be recorded or recognised by your phone’s system, they do still exist in the memory.
  • Manual deletion – when you choose to delete a file, the operating system simply marks that location as being available for something else to save in its place. The actual file itself is not permanently wiped. Instead, the path to the file is removed and the data (all of the ones and zeros that make up the file) is shredded into an unreadable format.

Is Smartphone Data Recoverable?

Normally on a computer or any other storage device, the ghost of the deleted file will remain there until the computer has no option but to overwrite it. So if you already have 500mb of spare space, your computer will opt to save new files in those previously unused locations. The space where your deleted file is sitting remains reasonably safe, and it’s for this reason that recently deleted files are easier to recover than old ones.

How data recovery software works

Smartphone recovery works much in the same way. Their NAND flash memory disks are designed so that re-writes are minimized. And as mentioned above, NAND simply treats deleted data as a spare spot for future data to be put in its place. This swift method of deletion takes up less resources and allows users to recover files they otherwise thought were entirely deleted.

A specialist data recovery software attempts to rediscover the path to the previously saved file, and then re-constructs the fragments of the broken data into a readable format once again. These programs have enhanced in recent years and are able to recover files of almost any type and size – messages, photos, videos, contacts, etc.

So despite what you may have thought previously, smartphone data is very much recoverable and not always deleted for good. There are many solutions on the market in helping you retrieve lost content, and none of them require you to seek the help of a professional. Trial any available free software to see what’s possible.

Help Desk Software 101: What it is And How it Can Help Your Business

Since its inception, help desk software has made huge strides in improving customer support for both companies and their consumers. Now, with the addition of recent advancements, help desks have become far better and more efficient to use.

Help desk software is a resource designed for the users of virtually any product to contact companies when they are having problems with their service. Typically, help desks aim to institute a multi-tiered troubleshooting approach – this can be mainly done by having personnel with extensive technical knowledge available to answer consumer questions.

tech-support

Generally, helpdesk software consists of at least three main parts: Ticket Management,  an Automation Suite, and Reporting & Optimization. In order to actually consider software a quality Help Desk software, it should be masterful in all these aspects. Together, these three functions essentially form the crux of a helpdesk operation.

Implementation of this multi-tiered support varies widely within companies. In one company, it may be one person with a wealth of knowledge carrying a cell phone. It may also be several people who perform some of the support in house and several people from another company that are contracted for additional support. In still another company, it may be a multitude of people within their own company performing all levels of support. The approach might be different, but the idea is always pretty much the same.

How It Basically Works

Help Desk software’s work starts and is hinged on how it is able to pull customer emails from their initial email and organize them in a single place. This is how “Ticket Management” basically works. It allows a help desk executive to answer calls and emails from customers and log them easily as individual “tickets”. It also allows customer support executives to listen and respond to customer feedback on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.

help-desk-dashboard

The Automation Suite, meanwhile, allows a help desk coordinator to ensure that questions from customers are redirected to employees who are capable of answering them satisfactorily. This is the next step that most help desk software follows. It enables the coordinator to get notifications when a support executive hasn’t responded to a ticket, or when a ticket is taking too long to get resolved, among other several possible cases.

Lastly, the Reporting and Optimization section constitutes the most important function of customer service: it pulls and assembles pertinent information about all the critical aspects of the helpdesk. Managers and leaders can then understand service elements such as load on the helpdesk team, turnaround time & resolution rate of each executive, etc. Metrics like these give managers a quick perspective on how things are faring and allows them to make changes for the better.

The Standards Help Desk Software Should Implement

The most strategic method of implementing Help Desk is to follow the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) best practices. A Help Desk must include the following if it wants to be credited for best practices:

  • Single point of contact (SPOC) for IT interruptions
  • Computer or Software consultations
  • Tracking capabilities of all incoming problems
  • Problem escalation procedures
  • Problem resolution

The following are listed as best practices for Help Desk. These are all outlined in the Service Management best practices section of ITIL version 3:

  • Knowledge Management – A Help Desk should have a system that improves operational efficiency by reducing the time spent to rediscover previous incidents or problems.
  • Problem Management – A Help Desk should have a system that gathers information during incident management to help spot problems.  This system identifies the root cause of frequent recurring incidents by capturing information in a knowledge base.
  • Access Management – A Help Desk should act as the keepers of the user accounts along with password resets.  Single ownership by the Help Desk ensures quicker response time for end users with user or password problems.
  • Service Catalog – A Help Desk should have a published service catalog, ideally with pricing information included and with detailed service descriptions.

The Benefits of Implementing Help Desk Software

A Help Desk system is all about ease of use. At its best, a Help Desk software automates an issue resolution workflow, centralizes information, and keeps everyone in-the-know with email alerts.

Instead of having to track down or phone-call someone from tech support to get help, consumers can simply submit a ticket to the helpdesk team through email or a website-based form. The help desk software can then receive, log, and assign issues to the appropriate help desk technicians automatically, making the process more convenient for all parties involved.

support-agent

Not only do help desks streamline communication, they also keep detailed records of all submitted issues, making it easier to track updates and report on what work has been done.

Aside from its main function, there are other ways on how Help Desk software can help a company, even in the littlest of ways:

  •         Efficiency in working: Because employees can easily submit issues and get their tech issues fixed faster, everyone can spend more time being productive because of the time Help Desk software saves. IT professionals also waste less time on unnecessary manual processes, freeing up valuable time for more important work.
  •         Customize to meet needs: At the entry-level tier, a Help Desk ticket should include a title and description of each issue. For more detailed information and better categorization, a company can opt its Help Desk software to include custom fields such as department, building location, floor number, and customer preference – virtually any customization requirement is possible. This creates more ways to serve customers and easier ways for employees to narrow down ticket solutions.
  •         Help Desk, a One-stop Shop: Most help desk systems include a user portal that provides a single place for users to create tickets, view the status of open issues, and close out tickets once they’re resolved. A portal can also be used to relay important information to users (such as planned downtime), which can reduce unnecessary tickets.
  •         More control and more accuracy in due date management: Setting, tracking, and communicating changes to issue due dates are easy with a help desk. This would be extremely useful – and unfathomably more efficient – for both the IT professional addressing the issue and the employee who submitted it. Due dates can be automatically or manually assigned, and help desk technicians can sort tickets based on date projects need to be completed.
  •         Multitasking anywhere, anytime: Help Desk systems allow IT professionals to be able to quickly and more easily categorize and prioritize issues. As a result, IT professionals can schedule and sequence much better as they consider which issues to prioritize. As such, a tech might want to handle multiple similar issues in a single trip from the server room, making better use of their time.
  •         Improving Workflow by Trend Analysis: Because help desks can help track metrics such as average time spent resolving tickets, IT managers can run detailed reports to discover trends. For example, if a certain tech is very good at a specific task, management might want to give all related tickets to them for maximum efficiency.
  • Help Desk assignment Automation: The advanced and top-notch help desk software can analyze tickets and automatically assign issues based on specific criteria. For instance, department leads can send all hardware issues to Employee A (who happens to be the superior hardware expert) and all software issues to Employee B (who specializes in software solutions).

5 Top-rated CMS’s to Power Your Online Hub

When you’re on the internet, do you ever wonder how site administrators maintain their web pages and keep those sites all pretty, responsive and updated with the latest content? Thanks to the rising popularity of content management systems (CMS’s), a lot of the upkeep has been simplified and made much easier.

A CMS is a type of software that enables the site administrators to create and modify digital content using a user-friendly interface to publish online content and data. With a wide array of features, most of the content management systems usually include web-based publishing, format management, history editing, indexing, and automatic data retrieval.

brainstorming

If you are planning to establish your own website that is focused on content, the best way for you to achieve this is to opt for a content management system. To have a unique website developed without a definite budget for maintenance can jeopardize your business operations sooner or later. The good news is that CMSs nowadays are open-sourced, easily managed, and even offered for free.

A report from the W3Techs content system management website reveals that the top three leading CMS of today are responsible for at least 70% of all the CMS usage on websites from across the World Wide Web.

Start-up entrepreneurs, multimedia artists, creative writers, food and video bloggers are among those who have discovered the ease of having and maintaining a wonderful website. It is all about the readily available CMS that is used with practically every website. Plus, these CMS’s do not require you to pull out a big amount of money from your pocket just to have a customizable and reliable content platform of your own.

In the world of e-commerce, e-business owners can face the challenge of looking for a good shopping cart platform that matches your familiarity with programming languages and your business model. If you are trying to have a start-up online store, you most likely have faced this dilemma.

To help you in your quest in building a better website, below are five of the most popular content management systems and how they fare in expanding the virtual network of today.

WordPress

wordpress

Considered one of the most popular among all the content management systems of today, WordPress has become a household name in the cyber universe and to website developers. In fact, most of the websites you see online are powered by WordPress to help content managers and site administrators to publish, manage and organize a wide variety of content – from articles and tutorials, to photos, videos, stories, and much more.

Aside from WordPress being a user-friendly and easy-to-learn platform, it also is highly flexible for beginners and experienced users alike. The public plugin repository has an estimated 40,000+ free plugins available for download, while the public WordPress theme database has over 2,100+ styles to choose from.

It operates using the PHP programming language and supports MySQL and MariaDB database platforms which make it a standard for a website that has both function and aesthetics. Also, this is why the content system management market ranging from start-up businesses to mobile applications have relied on WordPress for their websites.

Furthermore, aside from having a wide array of themes to choose from and design flexibility, WordPress is also secure, reliable and easy to work with. If you want a site for e-commerce, business, portfolio, community, or an organization that can be easily managed, WordPress might be the way to go.

Joomla!

joomla

Joomla! is another hot content management system in the market today. However, it is for those who are more knowledgeable in programming languages and are up for a bit of a challenge. It uses PHP programming language and supports MySQL, PostgreSQL, MSSQL, and SQLite databases.

Although the code base of Joomla! is rather sophisticated and complex compared to that of WordPress, it has also built medium to large scale websites that are live today. On the brighter side, Joomla! offers more scalability and more back-end integration than other current content management systems.

It is the second most used content management system platform after WordPress. Joomla! is in the middle ground in terms of ease of management as it allows non-technology savvy administrators to still manage the site effectively without that much technical assistance.

Users of Joomla! love the platform because of its native front-end content editing, content management flexibility, and a native integration of multiple languages which makes the Joomla!-powered sites more user-friendly to site visitors of different races.

Shopify

shopify

When it comes to e-commerce websites, Shopify is one of the most popular CMS’s. For an online shopping platform, it provides everything with an easy access setup and a handy dashboard area for quickly adding products, customizing the look of your site, and more.

Also, if you plan to move in from another platform, Shopify provides you a hassle-free process to import your products and content from your store powered by a different platform. More advanced web developers can also gain access to the CSS and HTML files so that they can personalize their websites more.

According to a review of Shopify, the platform also offers easy scalability. This allows e-commerce businessmen to list a huge portfolio of products that could offer top end packages and offers. Also, it is also capable of adding apps to the e-commerce store itself like customer reviews, live chat, and many more.

In addition, the platform’s backend is just as impressive as it offers a feature-rich interface that helps the administrator to manage the site effectively. All the items in stock can be tracked, and offline and online inventories are well taken care of.

Bigcommerce

bigcommerce

If you want a beautiful and highly intuitive e-commerce website, Bigcommerce is the platform to choose. It allows the developers to create and maintain a gorgeous website that gets results using unique themes and advanced customization framework to help business owners to establish their brand and entice online customers.

Bigcommerce’s intuitive front end editor allows you to customize the appearance of the website without the need to do any coding. However, developers also have the option to experiment with the platform’s theme framework to build a totally personalized online store using HTML, CSS, and other coding languages. However, if you are not that well-versed with coding, BigCommerce offers more than 100 responsive templates to choose from.

The platform has a network of more than 2,000 web designers and developers worldwide who can help businessmen build their dream online store. Their team has undergone rigorous training to be certified experts. Partners like Groove, Indaba and IntuitSolutions have built ecommerce sites for some of the world’s most successful brands.

Volusion

volusion

Volusion is also an effective platform for you to establish an online shopping market. The thing is that that unlike Shopify, it provides you with a clean dashboard with minimal elements.

The problem is that when you want to change the layout and design of the pages, coding is a requirement. This is why when deciding to go for Volusion, you must be comfortable with coding in HTML and CSS in order to personalize the templates according to your preference.

As far as its interface is concerned, they offer 28 free and readily-available themes while there are 88 templates that can be purchased. The designs are clean and organized for the modern entrepreneur.

The front end of Volusion is easy to navigate since all the themes are responsive. Mobile commerce is already included for selling on an app. Also, social media tools and automatic tax rates generate interaction and easy checkouts. On the other hand, its backend now offers a primary dashboard menu that includes tabs to easily access orders, marketing, customer profiles, inventory, design, and reports.

3 Steps to Effective Software Design

It is quite an astonishing experience to see that the world is thriving together in using the computer as a major mean to run its daily course. People are continually pushing forward with expanding their knowledge with regard to computer technology. However, what is more astonishing to know is the fact that from a world that started from sharpened rocks and two-stone fires, we are now living in a generation renovated by sharpened minds, illuminated by the knowledge we have acquired over the trial and errors of time. Thanks to the power of computing, this world is living in transcendence and will likely to be so much more.

a computer graphic

Computers have crept in practically every crevice of our daily lives. In fact, we can go as far as to say that our lifestyle is now based on what our computers can offer. In our social structure, we are witnesses to the rising number of people who are utilizing the wonders of social networking sites or SNS. It has become so in demand that almost everyone has their hands full on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many other social networking platforms.

Even the field of business has taken notice of computers’ powerful appeal. In fact, websites are now primary requirement for businesses to provide content for these people dubbed as ‘netizens’. A prevailing tool in the internet called WordPress has become widely used, in fact according to this WordPress hosting test, this platform is on the rise and will continue to rise given the consistency of the sites. Looking at the bigger picture, we can see that businesses utilizing the power of computing produce jobs for people who are learned in the discipline of computer engineering and computer science, as well as information technology.

We can see it wide open that computer technology provides a link to different and varying fields. From social to economic to the academic field, there is a linear pattern which computer technology offers. This is the same reason why people nowadays are leaning towards understanding its processes, the very fundamentals of the broad subject.

One of the most important aspects of computer technology is software design. What is software design really? Software design refers to the process of applying software solutions to one or more set of problems. Frankly speaking, we cannot utilize any of our computers without its software. This is why it is important for us, especially the ones interested in the field, to take a look on the process of designing software.

Here are three guidelines to understand the software design process.

Planning is Key

Good planning is THE phase which all successful projects share. For software design, the right planning makes all the difference. Thus, the first step towards successful software design planning is critical analysis.

keys displaying "needs" and "wants"

Software designers must interact, extract, recognize and analyse. Software design is an intricate process that starts with having a good grasp on what objectives to meet. Designers should have good interaction skills with the client, so that he may extract the essential purpose and preferences they have.

Recognizing and distinguishing which requirements need to be checked and rechecked is also an important part of the planning phase. In addition, the developers should have to perform a high level analysis on what steps to do and how to do it.

The second phase of planning focuses more on specification. The backbone of software design is the mathematical description which will be utilized rigorously in the specification task. Specification is the task of accurately defining the software to be written.

a venn diagram of specification

Most effective specifications are actually prepared to interpret and fine-tune applications that were already well-built, albeit safety-critical software systems are often carefully specified prior to application development. In addition to that, specifications play a more significant role for external interfaces that must stay stable.

In the last stage of planning comes the architecture of the software. Software Architecture is defined as an abstract representation of that system. Basically, it is the software construction which makes sure that the requirements and specifications are addressed properly. It’s the blueprint of the software to be implemented.

Make it Happen

After all the elements are made clear during the planning stage, Execution phase comes next. In software design, the execution stages are implementation and testing.

Implementation comes as an antecedent to all development to execute the plan. In this case, it is the coding part. Programming of the design proves to be the most obvious job of the software engineer. Various programming languages can be utilized in this stage of execution, thus different approaches can be made in designing software.

keep calm and continue testing

After the code has been written, it is important that the project be tested and reviewed in search for any glitches. This opens the door to find out which workaround solve any underlying problem. Testing is a demanding and laborious task for the software engineer, but it proves to be vital in the development of the actual software. Without testing, software design cannot be proofed or verified.

Maintain it, Sustain It

Software design maintenance is the cherry on top of planning and execution. The truth of the matter is that issues in the software are inevitable. That is why sustaining it with exquisite maintenance model is just as important as the development itself. Documentation, training and support, and primary maintenance are the key factors in software sustenance.

One of the most significant things most people in the software design field forget is consumer training and support. We know that even when the software is out, and there is nobody who knows how to operate it, the whole thing is pointless. With ample training, support and fast feedback, everything can run smoothly. However, how do companies in software design conduct training and support?

software repair

Software designers and involved parties give out seminars and training to customers and clients before they start using the application. In this way, the client can freely ask questions while learning how to handle the product.

In addition, documentation comes as a very integral part in maintenance. Documentation in the field of software design is an important task that deals with filing the internal design of the software to create references for future maintenance and enhancement. In the literal context, it’s a diary of what worked and what did not in the implementation process. It goes hand in hand with testing. In a nutshell, documentation is the recording and citation part of the whole development process.

Having documented all the problems and the technicalities, the primary maintenance now comes in to play. All the mentioned processes come down to the maintenance. It’s a vigorous process that needs to ample time be. Almost always, there will be problems in the software. That is the reason why there is more work in maintenance than the planning and coding combined. It is all about continuous growth and continuous learning for the full-fledged software designers.

Software design is definitely a complicated process that includes various phases. It requires a lot of work and a whole lot more dedication. With the right planning, designers can learn which demands to meet and how they can provide specific solutions. The implementation comes afterwards where the programming and testing phase brings out the beauty of the technology. Lastly, the maintenance of this software is to be watched out for since problems will certainly arise.

Our relentless reliance on technology attests that we are a race that is still evolving. To evolve is to accept that change inevitable, especially in meeting the changing needs of our technologically demanding times. With right conviction, we are continually expanding our knowledge in the field of computer technology for the advancement of our lives.

Software design is a key ingredient in this endeavour, and having the right knowledge to go about its process is a significant factor for both professionals and aspirants alike.

The Role Of Design In Software Development Process

Anytime we want to build or create something, we simply have to imagine how it will look like. Of course, “function” is important as well, perhaps even more than “form” in some cases, but when it comes to software development and modern methods of coding – design is equally important and valuable. Some software developers even say that you should always design first and code later, but this old geek “joke” cannot be applied to all cases and there are many ways in which good software can be developed if you code first.

 

The reason why this old concept is being forgotten and even obsolete lies in the fact that modern programming tools allow faster construction of code and this also enables developers to find the problems and fix them easily, without the need to perform numerous tests and spend a lot of time verifying the stability and performances of the algorithm.

Software design focuses on both main elements of the code – algorithm and architecture, and this makes it so important. Since design affects the end user in a lot of ways, sometimes even more than the back-end part of the project, it is vital that all elements of a software solution are placed in the right position and that the final design suits the needs of the customers.

Designers have to be in constant communication with the rest of the team, simply because software development is not a “one man’s job” anymore. Several people, at least, are involved in this process, and large companies often deploy dozens of experts to work on a single piece of software. Therefore, communication is key, and being able to understand what the rest of the team needs is imperative for a good designer.

Project managers, consultants, developers, content writers, testers, users, etc. are all a good source information, and a good designer will find the perfect balance between all of these parties.

The process of design is basically about problem-solving and planning, but it can be divided into three main stages. In the first stage, you brainstorm ideas, creating concepts and making plans about the project and the ways in which your end-product should look like. Once you find a suitable idea, you move on to the second stage, which has one goal – to create a wire-frame of the main elements that make the architecture of the software. It is important to accommodate everything in a way that will be simple but functional, and we all know how simplicity is hard to achieve. After this step comes the third stage, which can be called the “actual design”, and this part of the process is concerned with the shapes, colors, textures and all similar features of those elements that are a part of the design. According to client’s wishes and preferences, the product receives its final form, and aesthetic purposes are important in this final stage as well. Designers who make everything look “nice” will have a lot of satisfied customers, and they will justify the importance of good design when it comes to the process of software development.