IT Innovation

Connect, Shield, and Get Paid

Explore gadgets and mobile apps, and test your tech knowledge.

January/February 2016

Apps: Utilities and Tools


Start the new year off right with better security and some new tools for your smartphone.

Combine your contacts for Google, iCloud, iOS devices, and social media accounts for a complete view. The app also notifies you when contacts make changes to their info and updates your records automatically. Free (Android, iOS).

This keyboard app uses artificial intelligence to learn your writing style, how you type, and the words that matter to you (slang, nicknames, emojis, and so on). Over time, it will eliminate common typos and improve auto-correct and predictive text. The app supports typing by tapping (or swiping) in more than 100 languages. Free (Android, iOS).


Battery Doctor
Quickly assess your phone’s battery status and identify power utilization across apps and processes with this battery monitoring and energy-saving tool. From within each app on your mobile device, you can toggle brightness, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, and other power-consuming settings. You can also define power-saving profiles and set schedules. Free (Android, iOS).


AVG Antivirus Security
Benefit from easy-to-use virus and malware protection, a real-time app scanner, phone locator, task killer, and other useful features with this security app. Protect your device and keep your personal data safe from harmful viruses, malware, and spyware. Free (Android).


Shields Up!

How private is the data you carry? Silent Pocket embeds proprietary shielding technology into wallets, cases, and sleeves for mobile phones and other devices to block cellular, GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, RFID, and NFC (nearfield communications) preventing your private data from being “skimmed” or scanned from credit cards, passports, and mobile and other devices. Products include the V2 Full Shielding Sleeve for mobile phones to protect against identity theft, cell phone spying, GPS tracking, and malware intrusions. (US$109.95)


DIY Connected Car

Can’t get enough data to play with at your day job? Plug the Automatic adapter into your car and start using the Automatic app to check fuel consumption, log mileage, locate your car, diagnose the “check engine” light, and more. Third-party apps support a variety of different tasks, such as integrating with various expense-tracking software, to automatically and painlessly create mileage expense reports. The Automatic adapter uses 128-bit AES encryption and each adapter has its own unique key, securing the wireless data and the vehicle’s systems. (US$99.95)


Eight High-Paying Careers for 2016

The 2016 Salary Guide from staffing specialists Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group predict that base salaries in the US for technology and creative fields will increase 5.3 percent and 3.8 percent respectively in the coming year. But the following eight roles are expected to have even larger salary increases:


Robert Half (Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group)

1. Sometimes referred to as Backus-Naur Form, Backus Normal Form is _________.
a. A notation technique for context-sensitive grammar
b. A rock-and-roll band from the late 1960s known for its lengthy guitar solos
c. A notation technique for context-free grammar
d. The shape taken on by the human spine after several hours on an inversion table

2. Which one of the following best describes the word memoization?
a. A machine-learning technique based on the rote memorization algorithm
b. An optimization technique that speeds up computer programs
c. The process of shortening a long-winded formal letter into a succinct “memo”
d. A typo—I’m sure you mean memorization

3. A feature of functional programming languages that delays the evaluation of an expression
until its value is needed is known as _________.
a. eager evaluation
b. greedy evaluation
c. short-circuit evaluation
d. lazy evaluation


1. (c) Named for John Backus and Peter Naur, the Backus-Naur Form or Backus Normal Form (BNF) is a notation that describes the syntax of languages used in computing, such as computer programming languages, document formats, instruction sets, and communication protocols. 2. (b) In computing, memoization is an optimization technique that speeds up program processing by storing results of function calls and returning the cached result when the same inputs occur again. 3. (d) Also known as call-by-need, lazy evaluation—a feature typically limited to functional programming languages—can reduce memory footprint and lead to speed gains since values are created only when needed.