What One Should Know About IoT Platforms?

IoT platforms are one of the important components of the IoT setup. Owing to the increased attention that IoT is receiving nowadays, IoT platforms like Lumada have become the subject matter of discussion in many tech forums. In the last few years, IoT deployments have massively accelerated and this trend is expected to stay put for the foreseeable future. According to most experts, with the rapid progress that IoT is undergoing, it will most likely become a billion dollar industry as early as next year itself. As IoT platforms are crucial for efficient deployment of IoT solutions, the urgency for coming up with extensible IoT software has increased considerably. IoT applications will link all the elements of the real world with that of the virtual world, in order to benefit both of them. Since IoT platforms are fairly new to most technologists, there are still a lot of discoveries and developments to be made. In this article, we shall discuss what one should know about IoT platforms.

If you want to start on adopting IoT for your business or home, visit Hitachi ICT’s website. Being created by Hitachi itself, support for Lumada will be effective. It is time to take up smart solutions and empower your business or home now. Check out Hitachi Lumada at their website here: http://www.hitachi.com.sg/ict-solutions/solutions/smart-solutions/iot

IoT platforms are not an extension of existing platforms
Many of the companies are currently trying to expand their existing platforms, to include IoT services in them, however, IoT services alone do not make any platform an IoT platform. Unfortunately, this fact is unknown to most new IoT customers. A good IoT platform is one which is characterized by decent connectivity options, core Iaas (Infrastructure-as-a-service) components, hardware-based software platforms and enterprise extensions. The mere inclusion of IoT elements to an existing platform does not make it an IoT platform. It is high time IoT clients became aware of this fact and do their due diligent research before investing in an IoT platform.

Interoperability is paramount
For an IoT implementation to be truly useful for enterprises, it should be able to effectively interact with all the different components constituting the business. Unless all kinds of data can be uniformly processed, IoT will not be able to serve its purpose, because its outputs will always be lacking in one or the other. While no single IoT platform can be prepared to serve all kinds of use cases, support for open source solutions must exist at any cost. Open source tools enable IoT platforms to serve all kinds of use cases, thereby making it infinitely extensible, at least to some extent. It is important that IoT platforms have a common open source framework that enables it to work with all kinds of open source tools without any special modifications.

Why DIY Methods Should Be Avoided

You make your house look its best with elegant furniture and beautiful dcor, yet many face the problem of pest infestation as though it is the inevitable. Despite various effects, you may still face obstacles while trying to get rid of the uninvited guest. Today, our go-to remedy for all problems is the internet where we read a lot about DIY methods and feel like the superheroes that can save the day.

There are methods that guarantee to work, but the truth is they have more cons than pros. DIY methods that should be avoided are:-

1)Liquid sprays

The oldest method known to man is the liquid spray. A combination of harmful liquids are mixed in certain proportions and to strayed on the affected areas of the house to the entire house. This helps in termite control for a period of time (for 2 to 6 months depending on the liquid used). But due to the chemicals used in the liquid, it has an adverse effect on your health. The fumes given out by the spray is toxic to the human body and a constant inhalation of it can pose as a death threat. Asthmatic patients and children are advised not to be in the rooms where these types of spray are used.

2)Treatment by creating barriers

In this method, you create barriers for the pest by strategically drilling holes in the wall and insert a paste, injecting the chemicals into the soil and/or applying the chemicals thoroughly in the basement. Though this method seems to keep the pest at bay, you cannot terminate the problem completely. This method has to be repeated on a regular basis, which proves to be inconvenient, time-consuming but most of all the chemicals are likely to cause damages to the wall or soil that it is used on.

3)Baiting systems

The technique is known to be the most effective as it deals with decolonizing the pest. When the chemicals are introduced to the pests, the young ones are affected and are unable to survive the toxins. The queen and the older workers do not die by the toxins but after a period of time, when the older pests die a natural death, there are no other pests to take their place, so the colony eventually dies. There are many who claim that this method can be achieved as a DIY but that is not true. Manufacturers supply the needed chemicals for this method of treatment strictly to pest control companies.

Pest control is no longer as simple as it was decades ago. Termite problems have to be handled with care and caution. The understanding of pests and the proper methods to eradicate them is crucial.

When to See a Doctor About Dark Circles Under Eyes

The Causes

Dark circles are a commonplace unwelcome phenomenon and the traditionally believed culprit is either lack of rest or illness, but they can be caused by other factors as well. Heredity, allergies, eczema, stress, lifestyle choices like excessive smoking or drinking, skin pigmentation abnormalities etc. can lead to the formation of dark circles under the eyes. Another important cause is aging, which deprives the skin of elasticity and collagen; the skin becomes thinner and the circles darken and become more prominent. Aging can also lead to the formation of eye bags. Yet another cause of dark circles could be that the leaking blood from the blood vessels get oxidized causing swelling, dark circles and formation of bags under the eyes.

Are Dark Circles Symptoms?

In a few cases, dark circles may point to a serious medical condition requiring treatment. Sudden appearance of dark circles or the appearance of dark circles under one single eye that remains even after a few days require medical consultation.

The Psychological Factor

Apart from such serious situations that are rare, there is the problem of psychological impact caused by dark circles in most people. In spite of all traditional injunctions about not making appearance a factor in judging people, the truth is it happens more often than not. Hence, our concern about our appearance. Therefore, if the dark circles can be removed, it is best to attempt to do so, either by the more traditional home remedies if it is a temporary phenomenon or by cosmetic dark eye circle treatment procedures if it is caused by aging.

Available Options

Dark eye circle treatment obviously depends on its cause. However, for those who seek a remedy for dark circles caused by age, fillers are considered by a majority of dermatologists to be the best solution. It requires the skill of an experienced dermatologist for its effective application. Laser technology can been used but requires more than one session and is found to be less effective than fillers. There are many fillers available like Restylane or the more recent Redensity II, which is, in Canada, certified for the treatment of dark circles.

It is important to find an expert in the field whom you can trust and then seek his or her expert opinion on what would be best for you.

Top 5 Myths About Facial Fillers

Facial fillers constitute a popular cost-effective treatment that seeks to restore the volume and/or elasticity of parts of the face by means of injections. Fillers are usually made up of hylauronic acid, a gel-like liquid carbohydrate naturally found within the connective tissue of bodies. Like most advanced medical treatments, facial fillers have aroused its fair share of doubts, myths and rumours.

Let’s have a look at some of the myths surrounding facial fillers:

1. It looks artificial

Fillers need to be applied in specific target locations by certified specialists possessing an aesthetic sense, in order to give the skin a youthful and hydrated look. It goes without saying that the wrong quantity of filler or incorrect location can lead to an undesirable appearance.

2. Facial fillers are irreversible

Most available fillers are hyaluronic acid products (Juvederm(r), Voluma(r), Restylane(r), Belotero(r)). Their effects can be reversed within several days by injecting a product called “hyaluronidase”.

3. A painful process

Majority of the fillers come with numbing solution mixed into them. Doctors recommend using local anaesthesia, and applying ice or topical ointment for additional relief. The injection needles are also blunt-tipped and minimally invasive.

4. Fillers require frequent maintenance

Usually, hyaluronic acid fillers can last anywhere between 6 to 12 months, and calcium hydroxylapatite can last as long as 18 months. On the other hand, collagen injections and temporary cosmetic fillers last a shorter period of time. The frequency of repeat treatments depends on the type of filler chosen by the individual. It also depends on factors like the filler’s target area and the activity level of the person receiving it.

5. Facial fillers can substitute surgical facelift

Facial fillers can only add volume and give a sculpted appearance. Surgical facelifts in Singapore work on a broader space than facial fillers. The former removes and lifts sagging skin, while removing the excess. It also boosts deeper tissue. However, a combination of both procedures can give optimal results.

In conclusion, it could be said that facial fillers constitute a breakthrough in field of cosmetic dermatology. A little awareness – choosing the right products, getting professional help and carefully focusing on the target area – can go a long way in restoring the quality and health of a person’s face, not to mention, boost confidence and improve his or her lifestyle.

Ukraine Memories

At about the same time last year, I was in Kremenchuk, Ukraine, giving free English lessons to Russian-speaking locals using new edition coursebooks bought at a bookstore in Bern. I was in strange territories, far from everything familiar.

But however different things looked, sounded, felt, and tasted at first — I sampled my first-ever pizza topped with mayonnaise in Kremenchuk — eventually, it was fairly easy for me to feel at home in the former Soviet republic.

The Ukrainians, I found out, are just like Filipinos: warm, hospitable, and generous. It was a breeze for me to befriend people. Had it not been for the language barrier, I could have made more friends there. My students were exceptionally bright and easy to handle. They were sweet as well, showering me with thank-you gifts and cards at the end of the course. My personal favorite present was a bottle of home-made honey given to me by Nikolai, a Ukrainian pensioner whom I miss so much to this day.

Of course, just like in any other situation, there are exceptions to the rule. How can I forget the cranky Ukrainian shopkeeper who thought I was stealing her ice cream when I took them out of her freezer? But I later “made peace” with her when I returned to her shop four weeks later, bought some fruit juice, and smiled after paying her. She surprisingly smiled back. You see, right after the unpleasant ice cream incident, my American flatmate, an experienced missionary who had been in Ukraine for a long time already, told me that one should let the Ukrainian shopkeepers, many stricken with paranoia, do their job. No customer was supposed to do any ‘product touching.’ “That’s their responsibility,” she said. Well, at least in small stores.

After my English teaching stint and other church volunteer work in Kremenchuk, I hied off to Donetsk, chaperoned by my flatmate, by bus on a seven-hour journey to visit a Filipino missionary who had been doing ministry work there since December 2002. It was a blessing to see Sarita at work, persevering to meet the needs of a local church there and serving the community’s poor and needy whenever she could. And boy, her Russian was impressive!

My last stop was in Kyiv where I welcomed my husband at the Borispol international airport in mid-August, after almost six weeks of separation. We were supposed to do research work together — meeting ministry workers and taking some documentary photos and video shots — for the Manila-based missions school I was accountable to.

We first visited a Swiss-American missionary who has been spearheading a street children ministry with another missionary, an American, for a few years now. Both spoke Russian amazingly well (it served as an inspiration for me…yes, I can be fluent in German if I want to). The children there at the center were surprisingly friendly, and one particular 11-year-old girl warmed up to me completely that she even appointed herself as “the photographer’s assistant,” operating my Nikon SLR camera with so much ease.

We also met some Messianic Jews who would later take us to a rather ill-equipped men’s drug rehabilitation center where former drug addicts, now Christians, shared their life-changing testimonies with us. We saw during the visit that they lacked basic food supplies. And so, we headed off to the nearest supermaket after our talk with them, and bought a whole cake and a bottle of Coca-Cola for their afternoon snack. It was already a big deal for these men who kept saying spaseeba (Russian for “thank you”) to us. That humbled me.

There was also this visit to the Hillsongs Church where a nice lady in the guest relations team gave us the contact information of the CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) Headquarters there in Kyiv. Both were pleasant experiences — the worship service at the Hillsongs Kyiv and the impromptu ocular inspection of offices and TV studio at CBN Ukraine, courtesy of an accommodating translator named Vitaly. The CBN visit was especially relevant to me since I used to work at CBN Asia based in Manila.

In between these major appointments, we encountered drunk men and hungry streetchildren in malls (they wanted my lunch on two separate occasions), desperate men in costumes who posed with tourists for a small fee, talented buskers, pathetic-looking beggars, and wily con artists. It was…interesting.

Accommodation-wise, our apartment in Kyiv was nothing fancy at all, although it had the basics (kitchen, toilet, and living room with a double bed and a single sofa). I remember sleeping on the bed which could have well been the habitat of a zillion dust mites. Talk about sleeping with enemies! In contrast, Sarita’s apartment in Donetsk was clean and cozy. The one in Kremenchuk, meanwhile, was described as “communistic” by my flatmate. It was there where I had to drag my 28-kilogram luggage all the way up the five flights of stairs reeking with the smell of cat pee (it was pure torture).

Ah, Ukraine. I miss this country, despite the linguistic and logistical challenges a visit entails. I’d like to: 1) hold English lessons in Kremenchuk once again; 2) bring some winter clothing for some of the cash-strapped people in Donetsk who don’t have a heating system in their shanties; 3) cook decent meals at the drug rehab center in Kyiv. Countless possibilities.

Suddenly, I’m reminded of the many things people take for granted here in good ol’ Switzerland. (Note: Also published in Oikos Online.)

RANDOM TIP: Take a peek at my Flickr photo album on Kyiv here. My other Ukraine-related blog posts are the Mashrutka Challenge, Outdoor Market, and Toilet Talk. If you have time to kill, do read them.

Picason Concert

Watch this video before anything else. If a picture can paint a thousand words, a video can paint a million. For this reason, I present to you a video footage of the recent concert of the Salsa Cubana band Picason in my town. Excuse the poor quality of the video; I simply used my digital camera to document the event.

Picason dished out a superb performance during the Biel Braderie (summer festival) in Biel-Bienne. Too bad we missed the first 30 minutes of their concert which started at 8:30 p.m. But the moment we heard their upbeat Latino music and saw the engaging dance number of the vocalists on stage, we were hooked till 10 p.m.

Never mind the fact that I’m not really the type who goes to concerts. But between the Picason concert and the yodeling fest held also in our town two weeks before that, I’d choose the former anytime for obvious reasons. Swiss folk music is not for me — not in the long-term, at least. It’s a bit, um, geriatric for my taste.

Going back to the Picason concert, some of the spectators, Swiss and Latinos alike, let their hair down and swayed to the rhythm of the music. I would have loved to dance the cha cha, but didn’t for two reasons: 1) my husband has two left feet; 2) I don’t normally dance in public (not that I dance a lot in private).

The great thing about this concert was, it was free. We thought we had to buy the Braderie pin to be able to watch the concerts lined up for the three-day summer fest. But that was not the case. We saw lots of visitors, who were not wearing official pins, watching Picason perform live in concert. So we enjoyed it as well, without a pin and without any guilt feelings.

Picason has a number of Swiss musicians on board, most of them instrumentalists. The band really makes good music, and I wouldn’t be surprised if their CDs are almost sold out. Most of the lyrics are in Spanish, if not all.

This group has really piqued my musical interest. I’ll be surfing the Net in the coming days to know more about their brand of music. (Note: You will find another YouTube video on the Picason concert in Biel-Bienne here.)

‘Tiangge’ Challenge

The big box from the Swiss supplier arrived last Wednesday morning. I guess it’s all systems go from hereon.

For the first time in our lives, my husband and I will try our hands at something we’ve never done before: rent a market stall and sell Filipino products at the monthly tiangge (market) in our town next month. After lengthy discussions on the pros and cons, we’ve finally decided to take the leap of faith in the world of fair trade — all for a good cause.

On sale will be bags, toiletries kits, pencil cases, and wallets made from recycled fruit juice and tomato sauce sachets. Proceeds of the sale will benefit the Filipino women who made these wonderful products basically from trash. They don’t ask for doleouts. All they wish is for people to patronize their handmade creations and put them into good use.

I do hope the Swiss will like the unique Pinoy products as much as I like them. Fingers crossed.

RANDOM TIP: Besuchen Sie unseren Marktstand am Bieler Monatsmarkt: 10. August, von 8 Uhr bis 18 Uhr.(Visit our market stall at the Biel monthly market: on August 10, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.)