Outsource Web, Mobile and Software Development

Unknown to many, it is now possible to outsource developer jobs. As an entrepreneur, you can outsource the whole function of IT development, so that you can focus on your companies’ core competencies. Outsourcing is highly advisable especially if you are not adept with web, mobile and software development. Here’s why you should consider outsourcing.



Why Outsource Web, Mobile and Software Development

Outsource or do it in-house?

Hiring an experienced developer can be expensive, particularly for residents of a First World country. Aside from the salary, you also spend on recruiting costs, onboarding, employee benefits, and continuous training. Furthermore, your developer needs his office space, table, chair, computer, and other equipment.

If you have a big project, you need to hire many developers and a project manager to supervise the entire development project. However, the expense doesn’t stop there as development costs can skyrocket, eat up a big slice of your budget, and even lower your net profits.

Web or mobile development

Plus, that’s only just the basic components of development. Depending on what needs to be developed — web, mobile, or software — you may need to hire other specialists, purchase a specific set of equipment and tools, and spend a more considerable sum of money.

Aside from the developers, there’s also the need to hire a quality assurance expert, business consultant, and UX specialist — who are experienced, knowledgeable, and skilled. Do take note that when it comes to hiring people with a higher level of experience and skills, the cost such as salary and benefits goes up.

Once, you do decide to build an in-house team of developers, a considerable amount of your time will be spent in screening job applicants who have the expertise and skill set that you need. Hiring alone takes a huge chunk of your time, and even if you’ve got a department to take care of the process — you, as the company owner, always end up making the final decision.

The challenges don’t stop there because once you start hiring experienced professionals, there’s another job of monitoring their work, giving feedback, testing and making sure that app, web, or software development strictly follows the set schedule. Also, there’s the job of ensuring that development is still within the budget. More often than not, development costs exceed the limit because of revisions and glitches.

Going through hiring and monitoring a development team, to purchasing all the equipment needed can be taxing on your part as a business owner. Apparently, you spend a lot of time in this department alone that you neglect the core activities of your company.

Outsourcing software development

Managing development projects can eat up much of your time as you need to become as hands-on as possible. Chances are, you spend less time on activities that are vital to the growth of the company such as searching for new leads and closing more business deals. As the business owner, you need to focus on matters that are more important — and the most vital task of all is managing the entire company, not just one department.

Rather than opting to create an in-house development team, choose to outsource it to a proficient IT company. Outsourcing web, mobile, and software development have become quite the norm, all thanks to the advent of the Internet. Plus, by outsourcing, there’s more time to work on strengthening your business’ vision, realizing its goals, improving its services, and creating better products for your clients.

Advantages to Outsourcing Web, Mobile and Software Development

  • Up to 70% savings
  • Certified App Developers
  • English Proficient
  • WordPress Experts
  • UI/UX Specialists
  • Process Engineers
  • Website Optimization
  • CRM, CMS, ERP Solutions
  • Enterprise Softwares
  • Java, Python, C#, PHP Coders
  • Android/iOS Developers
  • High-quality Programming
  • Database Architecture

Outsourced Web, Mobile, and Software Development Jobs, and Roles

· Mobile App Developer

The market for a mobile app is growing; thus, the demand for developers is growing faster. There is a growing number of mobile app developers that you can hire for your project. Many of these developers have the skills and experience to develop your mobile app.

A mobile application developer knows various platforms for tablets and smartphones. Moreover, this is someone who is adept at using different operating systems, has an excellent understanding of multiple computer languages, and can cooperate with computer engineers and analysts to create and develop a mobile app.

Among the responsibilities and duties of an app developer is to create, install, and maintain the source code.  Also, the app developer can design prototypes, help the app development team in planning, and providing the unit structure.

· Game Developer

A game developer designs and creates video games for consoles and computers, and is someone who conceptualizes and executes game creation. At the very least, a game developer must have a bachelor’s degree in software engineering, computer science, or any related field.

As someone adept in all aspects of game creation, such as conceptualization, story writing, coding, and programming, a game developer should have experience in visual arts, production, design, and audio.

Game developers must also be able to create storylines and biographies of characters, conduct design reviews, and design role-play mechanics, as well as develop prototypes — all while documenting the entire process.

· Software Developer

A software developer handles the design, testing, installation, and maintenance of software systems. In addition, a software developer writes and codes individual programs, and provides an entire resource for new software. This guy ensures that the programs you use for your business are efficient and error-free.

If you want to outsource software development, you must ensure that the developer reviews your current systems first. After the review, system improvements are suggested before work is done with designers and IT analysts.

The outsourced software developer produces specifications in detail and writes program codes. Other tasks include testing software application before it goes live, preparing the user manual, and maintaining the system to ensure that it is up and running.

· iOS Developer

The iOS developer handles the creation and maintenance of applications for Apple devices, and ensures quality, performance, and responsiveness of applications. In addition, this is someone who can develop iOS apps and integrate them with back-end services. Like other roles in development, an iOS developer works with other engineers on various infrastructure layers. The collaborate in the creation result to quality applications.

Among the skills required of an iOS developer are Swift, Objective-C, and Cocoa Touch skills. The developer must have experience with Core Animation, Core Data, and other iOS frameworks. Besides, iOS developers must have experience in performance tuning, threading, and offline storage, and must be familiar with RESTful APIs, UI/UX standards, and other web technologies.

· Android Developer

An Android developer is someone who can design and develop applications for the Android platform. As a “full stack” developer, this developer takes charge of the project from the design phase to the submission phase. With an understanding of UI/UX trends, android developers can easily incorporate this in the application.

Furthermore, the Android developer performs unit testing to ensure robustness and usability, conducts testing for general reliability and edge cases, and works with outside data sources and APIs. Like an iOS developer, an Android developer provides improved performance and error fixing, and evaluates, discovers, and implements new technologies to maximize the app efficiency.

· Website Developer

Adept in computer programming and graphic design, the web developer designs, codes, and layouts your website depending on your specifications. After creating your site, a website developer assists, maintains, and upkeeps it; and has experience in planning and delivery of applications across different platforms.

With a working knowledge of JavaScript, CSS, and HTML/XHTML, a website developer must be an efficient coder to be able to create websites using standard practices. As someone who works with web programmers and designers, a website developer should be able to properly communicate with other stakeholders to be able to develop and deploy content.

Furthermore, the developer must know server architecture and server-side frameworks like ASP.NET, ASP, Java, PHP, Ruby, and python. Website developers are also tasked with researching new technologies and maintaining software documentation. Moreover, in case of the website down times, a developer must always have a contingency plan.

· CRM Developer

A CRM developer deploys, customizes, and integrates CRM in the business. Moreover, this type of developer creates and maintains the platform map, customizes the system to ensure the business meets its needs, and can integrate existing services and systems into the CRM architecture.

Like app and web developers, the CRM developer collaborates with business analysts, other application developers, IT professionals, and software architects.

CRM developers must have a degree in Computer Science or other related disciplines. In addition, this developer is proficient and experienced in developing, customizing, deploying and integrating CRM with other business systems; and has experience in installation and deployment of CRM.

· Full Stack Developer

A full stack developer handles both front and back-end development of the website. So, a full understanding of the different programming languages and databases such as PHP, CSS, HTML, and JavaScript is necessary.

The full stack developer has experience in converting graphic designs to virtual element, and is someone who understands and implements security and data protection. Moreover, this developer is knowledgeable in all web development stages and works with other developers and engineers.

Capable of designing the web application architecture, a full stack developer ensures responsiveness and maintains website quality. Furthermore, a full stack developer works well with the entire engineering team in the design, as well as the launch of new website features.

· WordPress Developer

If you want to outsource your WordPress development, you must find someone who can create WordPress themes and plugins. This person must be able to handle front-end and back-end development, and has experience and expertise in various programming languages like PHO, CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. Moreover, a WordPress developer should be knowledgeable of website aesthetics.

Part of the duties and responsibilities of a WordPress Developer include the design and implementation of new functionality and features. Your chosen developer must be able to guide and establish the architecture of the website, and ensure availability and high performance of CMS technical aspects.

A WordPress developer helps in formulating a responsive and practical design, and transforms it into a working plugin and theme.

· Backend Developer

If you are looking for a back-end web developer, you need to search for someone who can integrate front-end functionalities with server-side web logic. The backend developer writes APIs and web services used by mobile app and front-end developers, focuses on the development of all server-side definition and logic, and maintains the central database.

An efficient back-end developer integrates the server-side logic and the user-interface elements, creates reusable libraries and codes, and optimizes the application for scalability and speed. Also, this developer ensures data protection and security, as well as designs and implements data storage solutions.

Apart from working on the backend development, this developer ensures responsiveness to front-end requests and high performance, and integrates front-end elements into the application.

When it comes to web, mobile and software development, there are different jobs and roles that you can outsource so that you can focus on activities that can boost your business. For all IT-related applications for your business, now is the time to outsource.

· SaaS Developer

A good SaaS developer is someone who is adept at web technology. He develops cloud-hosted applications that people can use. The software can be an accounting application or a CRM application. It can also be a content management platform or a collaboration tool. Whatever the application is, the SaaS developer can develop it.

If you want to outsource your SaaS development, you need to search for someone who can design, code and set up the software. This person must be able to debug procedures and perform routine testing as required.

However, you need to keep in mind that SaaS development differs from your regular programming. An experienced SaaS developer knows scalability, software architecture, security, service, and dynamic infrastructure.

The following skills are essential to an excellent SaaS developer:

  • advanced IT Skills
  • attention to detail
  • application support and maintenance
  • innovation
  • problem-solving
  • organizational skills
  • software knowledge
  • trend awareness
  • time management

· UI/UX Specialist

If you are searching for a UI/UX Specialist, you need to find one who has the appropriate work experience. He must have a college diploma in Computer Science, Design, or any related field. In addition, a UI/UX Specialist must have a portfolio of design projects, excellent time management skills, strong communication skills, knowledge of wireframe tools, and updated knowledge of design software.

A UI/UX Designer gathers and evaluates user requirements, and collaborates with product engineers and managers. He illustrates his design ideas through sitemaps, process flows, and storyboards.

Furthermore, a UI/UX designer should be good at designing elements of graphic user interfaces such as widgets, tabs, and menus. He should also be capable of making software that’s easy-to-use and creating appealing and functional application features.

· Process Engineers

A Software Process Engineer has a deep understanding of tools, practices, and concepts used in software development. He works with other stakeholders in identifying opportunities and issues to support the development team.

The Software Engineer creates well-scoped and clear problem statements and pursues projects to completion. Moreover, he facilitates the adaption of content, standards, and processes within the organization.

If you are looking for a Software Process Engineer, you must search for one who has strong leadership ability, technical expertise, creativity, communication skills, and initiative. This person must have at least a college diploma in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, or any related field. He has professional experience in software development and a demonstrated ability to communicate and collaborate with other teams.

When it comes to web, mobile and software development, there are different jobs and roles that you can outsource so that you can focus on activities that can boost your business. For all IT-related applications for your business, now is the time to outsource.

China’s cotton seed sprouts on moon but will be left to die

A cotton seedling that sprouted on the moon has been left to die as China’s historic lunar lander continues a freezing night-time nap that will last as long as two earth weeks, scientists said.

The Chinese space agency announced earlier this week that the seed had germinated inside a special canister aboard the Chang’e-4 probe, after the spacecraft on January 3 made the first-ever landing on the far side of the moon.

The mini biosphere — which operated for over 212 hours — was shut down as planned on Saturday, said Chongqing University, which designed the experiment.

The lander also carried potato and arabidopsis seeds — a plant of the mustard family — as well as fruit fly eggs and yeast.

Temperatures inside the ecosystem were expected to plunge below minus 52 degrees Celsius (minus 61.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and the organisms will be “in a frozen state”, the university said in a statement on Tuesday.

The experiment ended hours before Chang’e-4 entered “sleep mode” on Sunday as the first lunar night fell since the probe’s landing. Temperatures plummet to about minus 170 degrees Celsius (minus 274 degrees Fahrenheit).

A lunar night lasts for about two earth weeks, after which the probe is expected to wake up, the statement said.

“Life in the canister would not survive the lunar night,” Xie Gengxin, who led the design of the experiment, told the official Xinhua news agency.

Once the temperatures start to rise next month, the organisms will be allowed to “slowly decompose” in the permanently sealed canister.

Chang’e-4 is also equipped with instruments developed by scientists from Sweden, Germany and China to study the lunar environment, cosmic radiation and the interaction between solar wind and the moon’s surface.

The lander released a rover, dubbed Yutu-2 (Jade Rabbit), that will perform experiments in the Von Karman Crater.

China’s space agency said it is planning four more lunar missions, confirming the launch of a probe by the end of the year to bring back samples from the moon.

Beijing wants to establish a lunar research base one day, possibly using 3D printing technology to build facilities, the agency said Monday.  — Agence France-Presse

Credits to GMA News.

China to collect samples from moon this year

BEIJING — China will launch a probe to collect samples from the moon around the end of this year, a space official said on Monday, weeks after Beijing hailed the successful touch down on the far side of the moon.

The Chang’e-4 lunar probe landed on Jan. 3 and transmitted the first-ever “close range” image of the far side of the moon.

China’s National Space Administration applauded the event as a first that “lifted the mysterious veil” of the far side of the moon and claimed it as a major achievement for the country’s ambitious space program.

The tasks of the Chang’e-4 include astronomical observation, surveying the moon’s terrain and mineral makeup and measuring the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment of its far side.

The Chang’e-5 mission, set to collect samples from the near side of the moon, will be carried out at the end of the year, while another probe will be sent to Mars by 2020, Wu Yanhua, deputy head of the space administration, told a briefing, according to an official online transcript.

The Chang’e 5 mission will lay the ground work for further probes to be sent to the moon’s south pole and possibly to return samples from the far side of the moon, depending on the results collected in the upcoming mission, Wu said.

Tests carried out by future missions could lay the groundwork for building on the moon’s surface, by testing technologies like 3D printing or the use of moon soil in construction, he said.

“China, the United States, Russia and European nations, among others, are all exploring whether or not to build a base or research station on the moon,” he said.

The moon is tidally locked to Earth, rotating at the same rate as it orbits our planet, so most of the far side—or “dark side”—is never visible to us. Previous spacecraft have seen the far side, but none has landed on it.

China has made space exploration a top priority in recent years, as it races to catch up with Russia and the United States and become a major space power by 2030. Beijing plans to launch construction of its own manned space station next year. — Reuters

Credits to GMA News.

Hyundai shows off walking car project

LAS VEGAS — South Korean car maker Hyundai on Monday gave a look at work it is doing on a vehicle with robotic legs to let it walk or crawl over treacherous terrain.

Hyundai showed off its Elevate project on the eve of the Consumer Electronics Show gadget extravaganza, billing it an unprecedented “Ultimate Mobility Vehicle” that combines technology from electric cars with robotics.

“What if a car designed with robotics could save lives in disasters,” said Hyundai executive John Suh, who heads a Cradle arm of the company devoted to innovation.

“The need for search and rescue, and humanitarian aid, is growing around the world.”

Elevate is designed with four mechanical legs with wheels for feet, according to a small-scale model shown at the press event.

Elevate vehicles can roll along on extended legs or retract them to be driven like a car.



The future is here!! SF’s Manager of Design and Innovation Strategy, David Byron @byrondesigns, demonstrates #HyundaiElevate’s ability to switch out it’s various modular bodies for specific use cases for @Hyundai_Global’s press conference at

— Sundberg-Ferar (@SundbergFerar) January 8, 2019

Extended legs could also be used to climb or crawl while keeping the passenger compartment level, according to David Byron of Sundberg-Ferar, an industrial design consultancy, which is working with Hyundai on the project.

“This design is uniquely capable of both mammalian and reptilian walking gaits, allowing it to move in any direction,” Hyundai said in a release.

Elevate can climb over walls as high as five feet (1.5 meters) while keeping the vehicle body level with the ground, Byron said.

Hyundai has been working on the walking car for three years, according to the company.

Examples of how this might be used included being able to carefully extract injured people from disaster zones or rugged terrain.

“It can go where no vehicle has gone before,” Suh said.

An scaled-down model of Elevate along with video of how it would perform were displayed at the CES press event.

“This technology goes well beyond emergency situations – people living with disabilities could hail an autonomous Hyundai Elevate that could walk up to their front door, level itself, and allow their wheelchair to roll right in,” Suh said.

“The possibilities are limitless.”

For example, an Elevate stuck in snow on a roadside could get up and walk back to lanes of traffic, or the vehicle could be put to work exploring other planets.

AutoPacific market research vice president Daniel Hall considered the Hyundai project “interesting,” noting that while robotic vehicles are already used by the military to deal with bombs “climbing obstacles in certain situations can be helpful.”

For Hyundai, the project is also a chance to demonstrate that, like rival car makers, the company is pursuing innovation, Hall added. — Agence France-Presse

Credits to GMA News.

Facebook CEO Zuckerberg plans 2019 forums on tech’s role in society

NEW YORK – Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg unveiled his personal goal for 2019 on Tuesday: convening a series of public forums on how technology can better serve society.

“My challenge for 2019 is to host a series of public discussions about the future of technology in society — the opportunities, the challenges, the hopes and the anxieties,” Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook.

The announcement follows a difficult period for the social media company, which has come under fire for its handling of private consumer data and its brass-knuckles approach to company critics, among other issues.

Zuckerberg, without directly acknowledging the criticism, said he recognized the need to get out of his comfort zone.

“I’m an engineer, and I used to just build out my ideas and hope they’d mostly speak for themselves,” he wrote.

“But given the importance of what we do, that doesn’t cut it anymore. So I’m going to put myself out there more than I’ve been comfortable with and engage more in some of these debates about the future, the tradeoffs we face, and where we want to go.”

Zuckerberg plans a series of forums that will be broadcast on Facebook, Facebook-owned Instagram or other media.

Zuckerberg has made a practice of setting a personal goal each January, such as running 365 miles during the year, or visiting all 50 of the United States.

But Zuckerberg’s statement on Tuesday suggested he recognized there was still work to do on the 2018 goal of “fixing” problems at Facebook, such as safeguarding the site from misinformation and propaganda that many experts believe affected the 2016 US presidential election and the Brexit vote in Britain.

“Last year, I focused almost all my time on addressing important issues around elections, speech, privacy and well-being,” Zuckerberg wrote.

“Facebook is a different company now than it was a couple of years ago because of a much greater focus on these questions. These issues are complex and we will continue focusing on them for years to come.” —Agence France-Presse

Credits to GMA News.

Canada’s Trudeau raps Japan PM on whale hunt

OTTAWA – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday took issue with Japan’s plan to resume commercial whaling in a telephone call with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe.

According to a statement from his office, Trudeau said he “raised the important issue of whale conservation and committed to working with international partners to protect whale species.”

Japan announced last month that it was withdrawing from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and would resume commercial whaling this year, sparking criticism from activists and anti-whaling countries.

The commercial hunts, however, would be limited to Japan’s territorial waters, said a top Japanese government spokesman.

And Japan will not be able to continue so-called scientific research hunts in the Antarctic and elsewhere that it has been exceptionally allowed as an IWC member.

The IWC, established in 1946 to conserve and manage the world’s whale and cetacean population, introduced a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986. —Agence France-Presse

Credits to GMA News.

WHO study likens palm oil lobbying to tobacco and alcohol industries

GENEVA, Switzerland – The palm oil industry is deploying tactics similar to those of the alcohol and tobacco industries to influence research into the health effects of its product, a study published by the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.

Evidence of the health impact of palm oil is mixed, with some studies linking consumption to several ailments, including increased risk of death from heart disease caused by narrowing arteries, the report said.

The study, “The palm oil industry and non-communicable diseases”, called for more research and tighter regulation of the $60 billion industry, and said researchers should be wary of being influenced by lobbyists.

“The relationship between the palm oil and processed food industries, and the tactics they employ, resembles practices adopted by the tobacco and alcohol industries. However, the palm oil industry receives comparatively little scrutiny,” it said.

Oil palm plantations, mainly in Malaysia and Indonesia, cover an area roughly the size of New Zealand, and demand is expected to grow as more countries ban trans fats, which the WHO wants banned globally by 2023.

Trans fats are prepared in an industrial process that makes liquid oils solid at room temperature, and are now widely recognized as bad for health.

Palm oil is naturally more solid than most other vegetable oils, and the demise of trans fats will leave it as an easy choice for ultra-processed foods, said the study, co-authored by researchers at the U.N. children’s fund UNICEF, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Britain’s University of Exeter.

The study said labeling is often unclear, and palm oil can be listed under any one of more than 200 alternative names, turning up frequently in foods such as biscuits and chocolate spread.

“Consumers may be unaware of what they are eating or its safety,” the study said.

The authors of the study, published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, said they found nine pieces of research showing overwhelmingly positive health associations, but four of them were authored by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board.

“The contested nature of the evidence suggests the need for independent, comprehensive studies of the health impact of palm oil consumption,” they wrote.

The study also pointed to the health effect of the production of palm oil in countries where it is grown, with slash-and-burn agriculture causing air pollution and haze linked to premature deaths, respiratory illness and cardiovascular diseases.

“Of major concern is the effect of exposure to particulate matter on fetal, infant and child mortality, as well as children’s cognitive, educational and economic attainment.” — Reuters

Credits to GMA News.

In space, the US sees a rival in China

WASHINGTON, United States – During the Cold War, US eyes were riveted on the Soviet Union’s rockets and satellites. But in recent years, it has been China’s space programs that have most worried US strategists.

China, whose space effort is run by the People’s Liberation Army, today launches more rockets into space than any other country — 39 last year, compared to 31 by the United States, 20 by Russia and eight by Europe.

On Thursday it landed a space rover on the dark side of the Moon — a first by any country — and plans to build an orbiting space station in the coming decade. In the decade after that, it hopes to put a Chinese “taikonaut” on the Moon to make the first moonwalk since 1972.

China now spends more on its civil and military space programs than do Russia and Japan. Although opaque, its 2017 budget was estimated at $8.4 billion by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

That’s far less than the $48 billion the United States spends on its military and civilian space programs, says analyst Phil Smith of consulting firm Bryce Space and Technology. But it is more than double Russia’s civilian space budget, which has been slashed to $3 billion.

Overcoming a lag of several decades, China’s leaders have very methodically replicated the stages of space development achieved by other great nations: a first satellite in 1970, its first manned space mission in 2003, the first docking of a manned spacecraft to an orbiting module in 2012, and activation of the BeiDou satellite navigation system, China’s answer to GPS.

“If they continue on this trajectory, they’re going to quickly eclipse Russia in terms of their space technology capabilities,” said Todd Harrison, an expert on military space programs at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Lunar resources

China currently poses no threat to the commercial satellite launch market, which remains dominated by companies including US-based SpaceX and Europe’s Arianespace, and Russia.

Nor has China’s progress in space exploration eclipsed that of the US.

NASA’s head congratulated China on its Chang’e-4 Moon landing but a 2011 US law bars space cooperation with Beijing, although Congress could lift that restriction.

The real rivalry is in two areas: in the short term, military uses of space; and long-term, the exploitation of resources in space.

The mining of minerals or water on the Moon or on asteroids, notably to produce fuel for rockets, is still a long way off, but American start-ups are already working on it.

Unlike the Cold War, the new conquest of space is unfolding largely in a legal vacuum.

In the 1960s and ’70s, Washington and Moscow negotiated several treaties on space, principally to guarantee scientific cooperation and to ban weapons of mass destruction in space.

“The treaties are too vague to be really certain what the legal result is for something like space mining,” said Frans von der Dunk, a professor of space law at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

War in space

Moreover, they have been overtaken by new military technologies: anti-satellite lasers, cyberattacks, electronic jamming, and land-based anti-satellite missiles — like the one China tested in 2007.

Laws of war govern conflicts on Earth, but there is no equivalent for space. And unanswered questions abound.

If one satellite collides with another in space, does that constitute an “attack”? What would be a proportional response? Civilian satellites should be protected from reprisals but what about satellites with dual civilian and military uses? How does a nation respond to a cyberattack of uncertain origin?

“It’s very hard to distinguish between weapons and non weapons in space,” said Jack Beard, a professor in the University of Nebraska’s space law program.

“It’s unfortunately hard to envision any major armed conflict on Earth not extending into space,” he added. “The Chinese have been preparing for whatever eventuality may be in the future, and… they have been experimenting with systems to interfere with our communications, our transmissions from satellites to drones.”

Harrison concurs: “The United States has not been keeping pace with the threats against our space systems,” and that has left the US vulnerable.

Meanwhile, US dialogue with Beijing is virtually nil, in contrast with Washington’s exchanges with Moscow during the Cold War.

“If there’s a crisis in space involving China, it’s not clear our military knows who to call,” said Harrison.

But other observers take a more skeptical view of portraying China as an aggressive adversary of the United States.

Brian Weeden, of the Washington-based Secure World Foundation, said some proponents of the China-as-threat argument wield it as a way to get money for NASA out of a tight-fisted Congress.

They “think that will motivate the US to go off and do the stuff in space that they want to do,” he said.

“They see the competition with China as a key to unlocking the political will and money to fund the projects they want to see.” — Agence France-Presse

Credits to GMA News.

4 Pinoy-made mobile games to check out this 2019

Listed below are just four of the many Pinoy-made mobile games we’ll be playing this year. We think you should, too!

1. Brawl Quest

A free-to-play mobile game inspired by classic arcade beat ‘em ups like “Double Dragon,” “Streets of Rage,” and “Golden Axe,” “Brawl Quest” is one of the latest from ThinkBIT Solutions, an IT Company that is also in the business of creating mobile games.

“One of the goals we had, was that the game can be played with just one hand,” said ThinkBIT Solutions director and co-founder Lord Christian Gosingtian.

Its setting resembles modern-day Philippines, with characters taking inspiration from local pop culture personas, representing the country’s various sectors, including religion, media, and the government.

“The story is a semi-satirical view on modern-day Philippine society where we generally poke fun of the bad things that actually happen in our everyday lives,” said Gosingtian. One example is the game’s very first boss: “He’s the mayor of your town and the only time he signs any contracts is if you beat him battle. This is a very subtle nod to how rampant corruption usually is in the LGU level.”

ThinkBIT Solutions attended South Korea’s G-Star 2018 event, where it won 1st place in the Big Indie Pitch mobile category for “Brawl Quest.”

“Brawl Quest” is slated for a Q1 2019 release. “We have lined up several collaborations in the future as we near the release of our game,” said Gosingtian

Facebook, website 

2. Jump Squad

Three-man indie game development team Tap Tales created a free-to-play game that is now being published by Singapore-based Data Hive Solutions. The two entities are now working together on future projects.

In “Jump Squad,” players control a squad of adorable dogs and cats, who must jump their way across colorful levels filled with monsters, coins, and obstacles.

“We wanted to create something that we hope will lighten up players, especially the ones who are bored while in queues or on their daily commute,” said Tap Tales artist Osias Bantug. “We decided to create a game that is lighthearted, with easy-to-learn controls but challenging gameplay, so anyone with a mobile device can dive into it.”

A cute art style was chosen for the game as it “makes working less stressful for the team,” said Bantug. “I think looking at dog and cat pictures/memes for references while creating the characters is one of the best workloads one can have.”

Most of the characters in “Jump Squad” are inspired by the team’s real-life pets.

“We will be adding more characters for players to collect, more ways to customize the characters like naming them and buying costumes for them, and additional areas with different game mechanics or goals,” said Bantug.

FacebookGoogle Play Store 

3. Sorcery vs. Savagery

Game development startup Cereal Box Creations describes “Sorcery vs. Savagery” as a free-to-play, single-player “Magical Action Arcade Game” that puts a spin on the defense game formula.

You play as a Grand Master Sorcerer whose goal is to prevent a horde of monsters from entering a portal to our world. You can unlock 12 powerful spells. While you can cast them simultaneously on charging foes, you’ll need to be strategic in their use to avoid running out of mana prematurely.

“The intensity of the gameplay increases as you finish each level as the monsters become more powerful,” said Cereal Box Creations’ Segi Tuazon.

A popular MOBA proved influential to the developers. “We, as a team, love to play ‘Dota 2’!” said Tuazon. “The idea that we can control a certain hero, cast spells against creeps, other heroes while defending your base – that inspired us. We took that mechanic and thought of gameplay that can be played on mobile phones.”

The team is eager to make “Sorcery vs. Savagery” even better.

“We’re planning to add some power-ups and items that players can use to make their wizard stronger,” said Tuazon. There are also plans to release the game on iOS devices.

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4. The Bread Adventures of Butter

“The Bread Adventures of Butter” originated from a simple game that programmer Christian Batol developed for his iOS class. After pitching it to his friends, it evolved into a game revolving around a bread-eating contest, which eventually became the rhythm-like “The Bread Adventure of Butter.”

“Bread is rolled out on a conveyor belt for you and your rival,” said Batol. “Once the bread arrives in your area butter packets will appear.” Your goal is therefore to correctly time your use of the packets so you can consume the bread and gain points. Wrong timing will result in the packets disappearing and the bread leaving your area.

“We decided the main character would have to face other characters in a bread-eating contest,” said artist Jaypee Paras. Story-wise, the winner earns the golden loaf, which is capable of granting wishes.

Paras made the game’s characters wacky and based them on different nationalities. He also made sure the game would feature bread from various countries, such as Japan, France, and the Philippines.

“We used our collective experience of playing video games and watching a lot of shonen anime of different genres to come up with this game,” said Paras.

Team Blue Orange aims to enhance “The Bread Adventures of Butter.”

According to Batol, they plan on putting in several more bosses, a mini idle game, game modes like zen eating and time-attack, and multiplayer. Other planned features include power-ups, consumables, and tiers and corresponding points for different types of bread.

“We plan on adding different bosses and their respective levels, dialogue between the characters, and a short narrative,” Paras added.

They also envision a special mode where you can eat the bread faster, a choking feature if buttons aren’t pressed in proper sequence, and moldy bread that you have to swipe off the conveyor belt.


— LA, GMA News

Credits to GMA News.

Breakthrough in plant engineering could boost productivity, feed millions more

ROME, Italy – The yield of many staple crops could be boosted by 40 percent by a new process that adjusts the way they turn sunlight into energy, potentially feeding hundreds of millions of more people, American researchers said on Thursday.

Crops such as rice, wheat and soybeans, as well as fruits and vegetables have a naturally occurring “glitch” in the way they photosynthesize that causes the plants to use up energy and resources, drastically suppressing productivity.

“The annual loss in production from wheat and soybean in Midwestern United States… is enough to feed roughly 200 million more people from this area alone,” Paul South, a molecular biologist and lead author, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Scientists from the University of Illinois and the US Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service changed how tobacco plants with the same glitch process sunlight, inserting genes from bacteria, green algae and other plants, they wrote in the journal Science.

They tested and compared three different genetic variations and found the most successful one saved enough energy and resources to increase productivity by 40 percent in real-world conditions.

In more than two years of field studies, the genetically engineered tobacco plants developed faster and put out more leaves and stems than plants that weren’t modified, researchers said.

The photosynthesis process is “nearly identical in plants so we expect that benefits observed in tobacco will result in changes to food crops,” said South.

Efforts are now underway to transplant these findings to boost yields of potatoes, cowpea, soybeans and rice, he added.

“It takes 10-15 years for technologies like this to undergo rigorous regulatory approval process, which examines engineered crops for health and environmental impacts. Thus, it is all the more urgent to invest in these types of technologies today,” said South.

The study is part of an international project to boost global food production sustainably. Funders include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the British government.

Experts, however, say increased production of nutrient-rich foods, not just staple crops, is crucial to tackle the global malnutrition crisis which has left one in eight adults obese while one in nine people are hungry.

“Well, we need more of everything. The population alone is almost inevitably going up to 10 billion and people are eating richer (diets),” said Timothy Searchinger, lecturer at Princeton University and senior fellow at the World Resources Institute.

So the latest findings provide “important, promising work as it may open up new ways to expand crop yields,” Searchinger, who authored a recent report on sustainable food systems, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Lots more work to be done… but glad the researchers have started focusing on some important C3 crops,” he added.

The term “C3 crops” refer to most major food crops that uses the C3 photosynthesis process. Crops that use a different form of photosynthesis are maize, sugarcane and sorghum.

And unlike many technological innovations in agriculture which come with costly intellectual property rights, researchers say smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia would have royalty-free access to these breakthroughs.

Smallholder farmers managing between one to 10 hectares of land provide up to 80 percent of the food supply in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa but many are also extremely poor, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). — Reuters

Credits to GMA News.