Blue Zones of The World: Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

Blue Zone in Costa RicaThe Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica could contain all the secrets to living a long, healthy life. There are regions of the earth specifically identified by their inhabitants. Blue Zones are areas in which the world’s longest-lived people reside. People who have lived beyond the average life span are concentrated these areas because of the resources and the communal way of life. The five Blue Zones that have been discovered and researched include cities is Italy, Japan, California, Greece, and Costa Rica.

According to the Blue Zones website, the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica holds the record for lowest rates of middle age mortality, and the second highest concentration of men who are over the age of 100. To achieve this status, the Nicoyans, along with the other members of the Blue Zones, follow these nine practices

Move Naturally

Exercise is obviously extremely important when pursuing a healthy life. However, those who live in the Blue Zones rarely use modern techniques when it comes to working out. Instead they take advantage of their surroundings by spending time outdoors and using the earth as their gym

Find Purpose

The Nicoyans refer to this as “plan de vida” or “why I wake up in the morning.”  Having a sense of purpose in life will allow you to operate in a meaningful way. It can also increase your life expectancy by an extra seven years.

Down Shift

Stress is an inevitable part of life. However those who take steps to be proactive and avoid situations that incite unnecessary pressure, are less likely to develop illnesses such as heart disease, or alzheimer’s.

80% rule

Those living in Blue Zones follow an ancient Confucian mantra to not eat past 80% full. They typically only eat a few small meals a day, and never surpass the 80% mark.

Diet in Blue Zones often includes lentils

Plant Slant

Diets vary across the world, but the people who live to be over 100 all share a few main staple dishes in their meals including: a variety of beans, lentils, soy and occasionally pork. They also limit their serving sizes to about 3 or 4 oz.

Wine @ 5

Alcohol may seem like it would have many negative effects on health, but when consumed in moderation it can actually be beneficial. It helps if it is consumed with friends, and/or with food.

Belong

Out of the 263 centenarians interviewed by the National Geographic researchers, all but 5 of them belonged to some kind of faith-based community. The type of faith didn’t matter in terms of benefiting the people. Instead it is the sense of community and togetherness that aids in lengthening life.

Loved Ones First

Family structure is very important in these regions. Many of the people in Blue Zones live in the same home with their extended family. According to a National Geographic article: “Nicoyan centenarians tend to live with their families, and children or grandchildren provide support and a sense of purpose and belonging.”

Right Tribe

Many of these practices include the core value of community. This also includes the idea that it is helpful to surround yourself with people who will help you develop healthy routines. Studies show that obesity, unhealthy habits, and even loneliness can be contagious. To lead a longer and better life, it is helpful to be around people who bring out the best behaviors.

At Number8, our community is made up of employees in Louisville, Kentucky and throughout Costa Rica. Our team travels through Costa Rica both for business, and for pleasure. We understand the value of leading a healthy, happy life. And we strive to learn from all the practices adopted by those residing in the Blue Zones. If you are looking to learn more about our company, and the work we do in Costa Rica, and in America, give us a call today at (502) 890-7665!

Offshore Software Development: Best Practices to Use

Outsourcing often has a negative connotation. The general public thinks of an impersonal, rigid work environment where employees do not necessarily feel invested in the work they do. In actuality, offshore outsourcing is an extremely amicable practice. Especially today where technology allows for fluid communication across borders, offshore employees feel as much a part of a company as those onshore.

To ensure this stays a reality, employees have a responsibility to dedicate time and effort into strengthening relationships among coworkers and clients. Below we have gathered a few of the best practices in offshore software development.

Full-Time Onshore LeaderBest Practices in Offshore Software Development

Important to have a leader who is fully dedicated to the success of the company. Some people think that they can supervise an offshore team in addition to all their other responsibilities. But really there should be one team member whose main position is to work with the offshore developers so that they get the attention they deserve.

Corresponding Offshore Team Leader

To complement the onshore team leader, there should be an equal counterpart within the offshore site. This employee should be responsible for checking in with the onshore leader on a frequent basis. This will allow for constant updates regarding current projects and assignments to ensure that all teams are fulfilling their duties.

Schedule Video Chat Meetings

Even if you can’t always be face-to-face with offshore employees, technology today allows for personal communication in other ways. Take advantage of platforms such as Skype, Google Chat, or Slack for regular meetings.

Build Community

Onshore and offshore teams should communicate as often as possible to create a cohesive work environment. If the company lacks unity, it will show in the quality of work and level of engagement.

Curate Small, Skilled Teams

Hiring the most skilled and motivated software developers is obviously a priority for any company. However it is especially imperative when it comes to offshore relationships. The added miles and potential time difference presents a more demanding environment and requires committed employees.

 

At Number8 we always work to use the best practices in offshore software development between our teams in Louisville, KY and Costa Rica. If you’re interested in learning about outsourcing and offshore software development, read more here.

Xamarin: What Developers Need to Know

Xamarin helps develop software across multiple platformsTo stay current, it is important that software developers are able to not only develop for the web but also for mobile. Nowadays people are using their cellphones to surf the web more frequently than they are with an actual computer. In a 2016 press release, StatCounter reported that mobile devices accounted for 51.3% of internet usage worldwide and 48.7% by desktop. The first time in history that mobile surpassed desktop usage.

With this transition in usage patterns, software developers are turning to various programs that specialize in cross-platform development. One of the most popular of its kind is the Microsoft owned, Xamarin.

What is Xamarin?

The product works as an equalizer across multiple mobile platforms including iOS, Android, and Windows. This helps to minimize the struggles developers face when it comes to creating apps such as separate coding languages and UI paradigms. Xamarin allows developers to write iOS, Android and Windows apps with native user interfaces and share codes. Developers can also use C# for all three app platforms as well. Ultimately developers are able to create apps that can be compatible across many devices.

According to the Xamarin website:

What Developers Should Know About Xamarin“Xamarin uses C# and native libraries wrapped in the .Net layer for cross-platform app development. Such applications are often compared to native for both iOS and Android mobile development platforms in terms of performance and user experience. Xamarin allows you to create platform-specific UI code layer. Thus, Xamarin cross-platform apps look 100% native on any device, providing better user experience, as compared to generic hybrid apps.’

Two Products of Xamarin

Xamarin can be broken down into two of its major products: iOS and Android. For iOS, the source code is compiled into native Ahead-of-Time compilation assembly code. With Android, apps go through Intermediate Language before being compiled into the native assembly code at Just-in-Time compilation. Both products however use automated processes that function to handle memory allocation, garbage collection, and more.

Here at Number8 we always work to be ahead of the times and use the latest technology. If you are interested in working with software developers that are accomplished in mobile development, contact us here. To learn more about Xamarin, visit the website here.

Current Tech Trends to Know About Outsourcing

The tech industry is always evolving. It is vital to constantly keep up with emerging trends in order to stay relevant. Outsourcing as a widespread tech resource has had its challenges, but is becoming more and more accepted. Below we have sourced some recent commentary on tech trends that are currently and will continue to affect outsourcing.

Read on for information from current heads in the tech industry and their thoughts on recent tech trends.

Anirban Dutta, director of Global Strategic Business Development at CSC

Anirban Dutta told Ann All of IT Business Edge that because of cloud technology, Current Tech Trends in Outsourcingservice providers will be focusing on pricing directly based on outcomes instead of using FTEs (full-time equivalents). Dutta says that customers are more invested in fully managed services that are using outcome-based service level agreements (SLAs).

Keshav R. Murugesh, group chief executive of outsourcing WNS Global Services

In a recent article appearing on Raconteur, Keshav Murugesh said, “gone are the days when outsourcing or the acronym BPO was synonymous with cost-cutting or labor arbitrage.” Murugesh believes instead that business process outsourcing is now business process management. Outsourcing is thought of less as a business transaction, and more as a cohesive system of employees. “…it is about partnering to drive better business outcomes leveraging the domain expertise of the partner, high-end technology and analytics. It is about partnering to ride disruptive business trends, which is a complete change from the humble beginnings of outsourcing for cost efficiency alone. Thus, the change in terminology as well – it is business process management now: managing processes efficiently and smartly to drive sustainable and profitable business growth.”

Raj Samani, chief technology officer for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Intel Security

Cyber security has always been a high-level concern in the tech industry. Even with so many security advancements, there will always be risks. Samani believes that cyber security will continue to be a priority for many companies which could lead to outsourcing opportunities. “With many companies unable to fill key cyber-security roles, we will see an increase in businesses outsourcing security. Our research found that the most desirable skills are intrusion detection, secure software development and attack mitigation.”

Rebecca Eisner, partner in the Chicago office of law firm Mayer Brown

In a CIO article, Rebecca Eisner explains that integration continues to be a problem as technology advances. “Customers adopting an ever larger number of emerging digital technologies will face an ever-larger integration challenge. Many of the most powerful cloud technologies will require integration efforts comparable to those required to install ERP systems.” To succeed, many companies must look to outsourcing for service integration, incident management, and change management.

At Number8 we strive to stay active and up to date tech trends around the world. We’ve always known the advantages of outsourcing, and hope to continue promoting a dialogue about how beneficial it is. If you’re looking to learn more about outsourcing, or what we do, give us a call today at (502) 893-7665!