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Few people had heard of computer certification when Novell created the Certified Novell Engineer (CNE) in 1989, but what started as a simple sales tool for Novell triggered widespread recognition of the power of certification to make a resume stand out.
Now, there are so many computer certifications it can be hard to choose which one is best, and to human resource departments, the technical resume that doesn’t have any certifications near the top looks like its missing something.
Going into 2004, computer certification is in somewhat of a critical, delicate stage. Will it retain value and continue to play an important role in our field? Or is it going to stumble and fall victim to the hurdles its own success has raised?
Right now the value of certification in the IT industry is clouded by the confusion that results from the sudden abundance of titles. It’s a challenge for IT professionals and employers to identify which certifications are worthwhile to pursue, while noting which are undoubtedly of high quality but will not personally benefit them, and discarding those which offer little value to anyone.
And then there is the legion of cheaters, who would help those who are not deserving or skilled pass certification exams through illegitimate means. When individuals who gain certification by these methods enter the workplace and can’t perform as expected, everyone else who is certified is harmed.
But neither of those hurdles is insurmountable. For the first, Certification vendors are beginning to recognize the problem and attempt to reorganize their certifications into a consistent structure with identifiable levels. Plus, there are Web sites like chúng tôi and others that organize the hundreds of certifications into manageable groups and help people choose among them.
For the cheaters, members of the computer industry have reached out and slapped them with the long arm of the law. In 2003 industry members brought successful lawsuits against several distributors of so-called braindumps. And a special consulting group, named Caveon , formed by industry experts will make their lives even more miserable.
To be sure, there are additional, smaller barriers to surmount. For example, quality continues to be of concern. Most certification programs are well-run operations that pay careful attention to the definition of objectives and the creation and maintenance of exams that measure them. But there is no watchdog to assure that. Accreditation of certification programs, just as colleges are accredited, is likely to appear in the not too distant future, perhaps within the next few years.
In case you missed any of the certification happenings of 2003 (and who can keep track of it all?) here’s a review of computer certification program developments:
Security is the Word
As with 2002, the word for 2003 was security – lots of it. Quite a few designations aimed at credentialing those who can help us secure our data were launched or expanded, including:
Microsoft added security specialties to the MCSA and MCSE
Sun Certified Solaris Security Administrator was launched.
The National Security Agency (NSA) and ISC2 (International Information Systems Security Consortium Inc) created the ISSEP, a new computer security certification for the National Security Agency (NSA).
ISC2 also expanded its well respected CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) program by adding “concentrations” and an associate program.
Planet3Wireless released the Certified Wireless Security Professional (CWSP) title.
Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) was created.
CompTIA’s Security+ is a requirement for the IBM Certified Advanced Deployment Professional — Tivoli Security Management Solutions title.
Citrix Certified Integration Achitect (CCIA) requires completion of a Microsoft design exam.
Novell requires CompTIA IT Project+ for MCNE (Master Certified Novell Engineer) certification, and CompTIA CTT+ (Certified Technical Trainer+) for the CNI (Certified Novell Instructor).
Microsoft accepts CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+ or Server+ certifications as alternatives to passing elective exams in the Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) on Microsoft Windows 2000 certification.
Novell suggests the vendor neutral Linux Professional Institute Certification Level 1 (LPIC1) as a prerequisite to its new Novell Certified Linux Engineer (CLE) title.
As you would hope, the major certification programs (and by those I mean programs from very big vendors and/or with lots of certified individuals) continued to be updated and in some cases expanded throughout the year.
Microsoft added a soft skill credential – the MSF Practitioner, as well as a Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician (MCDST) title, specialist tracks for Messaging, and of course, the Windows Server 2003 tracks. They also returned to detailed score reports, so candidates can once again tell which areas they fell short on if they don’t pass an exam.
Cisco Systems launched a spate of new specialist titles, and redesigned the Cisco Certified Internet Professional (CCIP) to follow the structure as the CCNP and CCDP titles.
CompTIA, which works diligently to make sure its certifications reflect current technology, updated its A+, IT Project+, e-Biz+ titles. As a side note, it’s kind of interesting that CompTIA takes such care to keep its certifications up to date, but doesn’t require its certified individuals to update or complete any continuing requirements to retain certification. Don’t be surprised if that changes in the future.
Apple computer appeared to work more actively on its certification program than ever before, adding an end-user certification program, a help desk specialist title, and updating its Apple Certified System Administrator (ACSA) and Apple Certified Technical Coordinator (ACTC) titles to the latest version of Mac OS X.
Major Mergers and Re-Orgs
The big merger of the Hewlett-Packard and Compaq certification programs is proceeding smoothly. All of the Compaq ASE certifications have been integrated into a unified HP certification program. Anyone who was certified under Compaq and doesn’t yet know how this affects them can check the HP certification Web site.
IBM is in the midst of a large reorganization of its certification program as well. As one of the most prolific vendors of certifications, IBM has quite a bit to organize. The new structure organizes certifications around job roles, creating a three skill level hierarchy (sound familiar?). All of the IBM product lines are incorporated, including Lotus and Tivoli.
Certification and Salaries
One of the primary questions that IT professionals always want answered about certification, is – will it help me increase my earnings? At least one research study completed this year indicates the answer is yes. Certification Magazine’s annual salary survey for 2003 queried more than 19,000 IT professionals. The average survey respondent held 3.2 certifications. According to the study, on average, certification brought a 15.1% salary increase to IT professionals in 2003. In the same survey in 2002, that number was just 7%.
Overall, 2003 was a pretty good year for computer certification. Many positive changes took place, and it’s looking a lot like certification in the information technology industry will make it through its somewhat turbulent teen years and mature into a lasting force for computer professionals and their employers.
Anne Martinez is the author of Cheap Web Tricks: Build and Promote a Successful Web Site Without Spending A Dime and Get Certified and Get Ahead. She also is the founder of chúng tôi
You're reading Certification Watch: Year In Review, A Look Ahead
Hello, my dear fellow search marketer, and welcome to 2023.
It’s time to make some New Year’s resolutions, or at the very least, be prepared to make some changes for the new year.
Unlike my New York Jets, there is ample opportunity to drop the crappy “guru” you’ve hired, forecast out a budget (even in a recession), play with a new bid strategy, make memes about Performance Max/GA4 and give Bing (I still refuse to call it Microsoft Advertising) the fighting chance it deserves.
Also, don’t forget to migrate your Twitter ad budget to something actually stable.
So, let’s discuss what you should be doing now, what you went through in 2023, and what you need to do in 2023.
Think of this as a really nerdy and “snarkastic” visitation of three ghosts.What Should You Be Doing Right Now?
It’s the beginning of 2023, so you’re running a bit late – but you can still make up for lost time.Forecasting A 2023 Budget
You’ve seen how to forecast search budgets year after year: the old “determine impression share (IS) lost due to budget and had 3%-5% increase in CPC assuming strategy stays the same” method.
Then the pandemic came along, and forecasting got a little iffier. Now, that method lacks some weight.
Why? There are a variety of theories, but for now, let’s just call it “inflation.”
If you keep the typical approach, expect to add anywhere from 10%-15% on brand CPC growth YoY in Q1 and, likely, more along the lines of 4%-7% growth on non-brand. This comes from our own in-house estimate – yours should vary.
Next, the ugly elephant in the room – Performance Max – appears. But it gets more complicated if you migrate smart shopping over to Performance Max as well.
Look at Google’s recommendation tool, see what it says for growth on a budget (because we all know it never says less), take 15%-25% off that growth level (kill off the buffer), and try that.
Or, gradually scale upward of 5%-10% from your current budget, assuming you hit budget caps consistently while flexing up and down for seasonality.
As I said, neither option is great.
It’ll help you understand where your current strategy/bids are, causing you to miss opportunities.
This is a good time to pace out your budget (if you’re like me, you have a planned budget to spend for literally every day of the year, which will vary based on anticipated demand).Content Calendar/Seasonal Flighting Planning
Often this is not as applicable if you’re new to a piece of business, but it should 100% be part of your plan.
If you aren’t new to the business and you haven’t done this, then you are Mr. Wilson of the Jets and deserve to be benched.
Make sure you know your deals, seasonality for peaks and lows, and everything you want to do creatively and budget-wise.Assessing What You Didn’t Do
Life and work get busy. This happens to all of us. Odds are, you had laid out some plans for 2023 that you could not execute.
Now is the time to determine what builds, testing, flighting plans, etc., you never got around to doing last year and reprioritize them to determine if you should try them out in 2023.
I like to use this thought process when doing that evaluation:
Was this for “fun” or a necessity (i.e., Is this effort something that would’ve definitely made a business impact, or something just to try out and see if it could help or hurt)?
If it was a necessity, then I hope you have a good excuse for why it wasn’t done and put it on the books for 2023.
If it was for “fun,” file it away for a rainy day.
Was there a business implication (positive or negative) by not doing this?
If no, then no harm/no foul, and you can try it eventually.
If yes, then get it ready for 2023, and have a good explanation as to why it wasn’t done.
Consider what you’ve been through.
Much like dealing with your strange aunt/uncle who said something grossly inappropriate during the holidays, you need to sit down and process what did happen to your SEM campaigns in 2023.
This helps you decide if it was all good, all bad, or somewhere in between and what you need to consider carefully in 2023.
Look at both the big things and the small things.Performance Max
If you migrated into Performance Max by choice or by force (anyone using Smart Shopping or local search), it likely made both a negative and a positive impact on your year.
Negative: You literally have no idea when/where your ad is showing, and all you can think (and you’re probably right) is that Google has thrown some of your direct-to-consumer (DTC) funds away on a really bad Google Display Network placement.
At the same time, you have very little information or ability to explain to your boss why Google has basically relaunched the SMB-targeted Adwords Express as a 2.0 version and just ruined your transparency.
Negative: You did the auto upgrade of a local campaign to Performance Max and discovered how many bugs there are, or you let Google create your YouTube video, and the music makes it far more cringe than you had hoped.
Positive: Especially for those running foot traffic campaigns, you’ve (hopefully) seen cost per store visits become somewhat more cost-efficient, and your ecommerce (for those running Smart Shopping) has seen an improvement in the cost per action (CPA).Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
I’ll go ahead and say what we’re all thinking (and it has been published multiple times already):
My god, this analytics platform was clearly made by someone who clearly only interacts with barnyard animals and has a vision and not by someone who did a user focus group.
If you somehow managed to survive the implementation of GA4, you’re now, more than likely, cursing it out due to lack of intuitiveness or more frustrated they rolled it out without a bounce rate or even conversion rate until months later.
All is not lost, though; I highly recommend deploying it immediately (if you haven’t already) and running it concurrently with GA UA, so you can work out the kinks and learn the platform while accruing historical data.
You may feel like Google decided to wake up and choose chaos with this platform and probably lost a few weeks of your life trying to understand it – so keep it in mind when you evaluate what you didn’t get around to doing in 2023.Bing Multimedia Ads
You saw the hype for them in September, especially on the video side, and thought: Finally, Bing is getting into the video ad game.
But then you realized you needed a raw video file to upload it and how little it would rotate.
Big hopes, big opportunity, but just no volume.Twitter
I know this article is SEM focused, but I would be remiss if I didn’t address this, as it is still biddable media.
Some of these changes in 2023 impacted you in different ways, good or bad.
The question is, can you learn from them, use them, and progress in 2023, with or without them?What You Need to Do In 2023
I’ve done several of these “What to Expect in the New Year for SEM” articles over the years, but the last two of these could never have anticipated what is going on now… again.
With that being said, I will go with what I believe is mostly going to happen, and you can take it with a grain of salt:
The NY Jets will not make the big game – just accept it.
CPCs, especially for Q1, will be higher than any other Q1 on record (especially brand terms), so be prepared to find a way to explain why and for your money make to become less cost-efficient.
There will not be a decline in demand/search volume until there is an increase in unemployment (ala 2007-2009 recession), so be prepared to address the uptick in volume.
Google will become less transparent, somehow.
Bing will eventually do whatever Google does.
If you work with healthcare brands, prepare to get rid of GA UA quickly due to HIPAA compliance.
Absolutely most important, use 1st party data as long as you can – but you need to get extremely good, and fast, at building in market audience segment groups and go all Criminal Minds/FBI profiling a serial killer mentality on targeting.
Have I scared you yet? Good.
2023 will be a wild year in search, and you must be prepared for it.
But you cannot move forward until you evaluate and process the past. Once that is done, you can plan out the future.
Best of luck, search marketers. We’re all going to need it.
Featured Image: 3rdtimeluckystudio/Shutterstock
Proprietary removable straps
Average fitness functionality
Unoriginal designOur Verdict
Wear OS may be stagnant but the Oppo Watch breathes new life into the platform, backing it up with smooth performance and a familiar design.
Google’s Wear OS has its fair share of critics and while the company has made a point of reworking its wearable user experience numerous times over the years, it still hasn’t curried much favour.
With Apple and Samsung offering what are widely regarded as the most capable smartwatches on the market, it takes a competent hardware manufacturer to create an alternative wearable that shines in spite of Wear OS’ misgivings, or at the very least, the less-than-stellar public opinion that it has garnered.
Oppo may be one such manufacturer, having adapted the proprietary Android-based experience that the China-only build of the Oppo Watch sports into a Wear OS-powered offering for international markets, that has a lot going for it.Design and build
No prizes for guessing the aesthetic inspiration behind the Oppo Watch; its rounded rectangular form would undoubtedly cause Apple Watch-wearers in a room to double-take. In this instance, it does at least feel like an imitation-as-a-sincere-form-of-flattery type situation, with Oppo still clearly putting care and attention into the fit and finish of its first smartwatch; from the forms and tight tolerances of its design to the materials on offer.
Like both the Apple and Samsung Galaxy Watch lines, the company serves up the Oppo Watch in two different casing sizes; in order to appeal to (and offer compatibility for) the widest range of potential users.
The smaller 41mm model features a flat display, while the 46mm version features a dual-curved glass front. Both sizes come shrouded in polished aluminium, in an assortment of colours dictated by casing size: black, Pink Gold or Silver Mist, if you’re considering the 41mm version or a choice between black or Glossy Gold on the larger variant.
Against the Apple Watch, in particular, Oppo’s watches appear (and measure) a little thicker, rising slightly further off the wrist by comparison; seemingly emphasised by their curved backs (made of polycarbonate on the 41mm model and a mix of both polycarbonate and ceramic on the 46mm build).
Provided your wrists suit larger watches, the 46mm is, aesthetically, the clear winner between the two casing sizes. The curved cover glass, wider band and more premium materials all make for a more elegant overall appearance, however, the 41mm version is – unsurprisingly – less obtrusive, without sacrificing any significant functionality, not to mention it’ll likely recover from glancing blows more readily than the curved edges of the 46mm variant.
Both sport water resistance (so swim tracking is on the table) and both boast convenient quick-release bands. However, the proprietary latch mechanism used means you’ll likely have to result to a third-party accessory maker to find a band that suits your tastes, beyond the included fluororubber strap that comes fitted to the Watch out the box (or buy after-market lugs that let you fit more conventional watch bands).
Unlike the Apple Watch, there’s no Digital Crown to speak of, with interaction made primarily via the touchscreen, as well as the two hardware keys on the casing’s right side: a home button and a multifunction button.Display and audio
Different casing sizes understandably facilitate different screen sizes, with the 41mm Oppo Watch sporting 1.6in 320×360 rigid rectangular AMOLED display, while the curved glass front of the 46mm model features a flexible 1.91in AMOLED display, with a 402×476 resolution.
Although the 46mm model technically boasts a higher pixel density panel – and thus a sharper image – both watches present information (including fine text) with pleasing clarity, in addition to great contrast, vibrant colours and overall brightness. Speaking of which, brightness can also be adjusted either manually and automatically.
By default, the Oppo Watch is set to turn on its display using tilt-to-wake, tap-to-wake or with a press of either button on its right side. More often than not, tilt-to-wake should prove responsive enough for most users to stick with it, but for those who need it, always-on display functionality is present too.
Switching this on does throw up a warning about the impact it may have on battery life and in the process, tilt-to-wake is also switched off (although this can be turned back on within the Watch’s settings menu if desired).
The left side of the Oppo Watch’s casing features a pair of slits, which actually conceal a microphone and speaker arrangement. The pair can be used to make and take calls, directly on your wrist (markedly more likely if you opt for the 46mm cellular model), but can also serve as the means to interact with the Google Assistant hands-free (“OK, Google” wake command detection is switched off by default but can be turned on directly on the watch).
It should come as no surprise that the audio quality of the Watch’s integrated speaker is nothing to get excited about and certainly not meant for enjoying music, but it’s loud and clear enough to serve as a serviceable alternative for those times when you don’t have Bluetooth headphones connected.Software and features
While the underlying Wear OS experience is instantly recognisable on any watch that supports it, each manufacturer has a little room to add its own spin; namely through watch faces and pre-loaded apps.
In the case of the Oppo Watch, those who’ve encountered Wear OS before will feel right at home; with a swipe left for Tiles (effectively widgets, allowing for quick access to information like weather and heart rate), right for the Google Assistant, up for notifications and down for quick settings, but Oppo has also augmented Wear OS on its Watch in small but impactful ways.
The apps drawer defaults to a grid view, rather than a list view – ideal for the timepiece’s rectangular display, and most of the included Oppo apps feature dedicated tiles, justifying their inclusion in light of the Watch’s understandably low internal storage capacity.
Daily Activity shows a breakdown of steps, workout time, calories and activity sessions throughout the day, and ties into a number of Oppo’s watch face complications, as well as offering integration with Google Fit. You’ll also find an Oppo-made workouts app that can track two types of running (fitness or fat burn), outdoor walks, outdoor cycling and swimming, as well as a separate ‘5-minute workouts’ app that is broken down into entries like ‘Morning Energizer’ and ‘Bedtime Stretches’.
The Watch features stand reminders so that when you’ve been sitting stationary for an hour it’ll prompt you to “Get Moving” and jump into a ‘5-minute workout’ routine with a single tap, while other basics and staples are covered too; such as a timer, stopwatch, world clock, dedicated heart rate app, guided breathing app and more.
Sleep tracking is also part of the experience here, with a dedicated Sleep app, tile and automated reports that provide the duration of the previous night’s sleep, as well as differentiation between awake, light and deep sleep states.
Paired with the Watch’s oddly named HeyTap Health app on your smartphone (available for both Android and iOS), you can gain additional insight, with a sleep score and a breakdown of your sleeping habits, as well as suggested changes that might prove beneficial to your long-term health.
You can press and hold on your current watch face to scroll through all of the Oppo Watch’s various alternatives, with both the Google Wear OS app and the HeyTap app supporting this functionality too (there are approximately 20 Oppo-made faces to choose from by default).
The HeyTap app goes the extra mile by letting you set a watch face that features a picture from your phone’s gallery or, more impressively, generates a series of eight new faces, coloured-matched to your outfit based on AI recognition from a photo you take of yourself from within the app.
The multifunction button defaults to Oppo’s workouts app but can be reassigned to open any app installed on the watch from within its settings menu, including Google Pay – for contactless payments – as the Oppo Watch features NFC support too.Fitness and tracking
While Oppo has included two workout apps of its own, and the Watch supports swim-tracking and sleep tracking, I’d argue that it doesn’t have as robust fitness credentials as some other smartwatches. The native workout app only supports a total of five activities, with five additional ‘5-minute workout’ routines to choose from.
The silver lining is that Google Fit integration is on the table, which may not be the go-to option for serious athletes, but provides a far wider selection of trackable activities than Oppo’s apps natively support.
After poking around in the Watch’s settings, I also discovered integration with its in-built tracking, meaning its fitness-centric watch face complications take into account workouts logged using Google Fit (something that I didn’t think was possible at first).
While app compatibility famously isn’t great on Wear OS, there are a handful of third-party fitness apps like Strava, the Adidas running app which can also be downloaded and make use of the Oppo Watch’s hardware.
Step counts proved consistent (at least with themselves), however, heart rate readings often appeared to be lower than expected – even during intense workouts, further undermining the Watch’s fitness credentials.
There’s also the fact that you can’t dive particularly deep into the health data logged within the HeyTap application, which may also prove problematic for those considering a smartwatch that doubles as anything more robust than a basic fitness tracker.Performance and battery
Despite a lack of innovation and development, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear chipsets continue to serve as the go-to silicon for almost all Wear OS-powered smartwatches. In the case of the Oppo Watch, it comes running on a Snapdragon Wear 3100 but, interestingly, has been paired with a separate Ambiq Micro Apollo3 Wireless SoC, which helps with power efficiency.
Mobvoi’s TicWatch series and Fossil’s Gen 5/5E timepieces, while also competing handily against the likes of the Apple Watch Series 6 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 in this regard.
As for longevity, alongside screen size, the two casing options also accommodate different battery capacities; with the 41mm model featuring a 300mAh cell and the 46mm variant toting a larger 430mAh power source. Quoted longevity by Oppo – when using these watches in “smart mode” – clocks in at 24 hours per charge for the 41mm model, 36 hours for the 46mm WiFi-only build and 30 hours for the cellular model.
In practice, things are not as clear-cut as this but using the smaller-capacity 41mm SKU as a baseline, in general use the Oppo Watch lasted through two days of daytime-only wear (i.e. switching it off at night) or approximately a day and a half per charge when leaving it on at night to track my sleep.
Amazfit or even members of the Huawei Watch GT 2 family, which provided your comfortable charging your watch daily, shouldn’t be an issue.
There’s also the fact that the Oppo Watch boasts one of the most functional low-power modes of any smartwatch I’ve tested; still delivering notifications from your phone and able to track your heart rate, despite running on fumes. Better still, Oppo’s Watch VOOC Flash Charging means that even the larger battery in the 46mm model can be replenished in just over an hour.Price and availability
The Oppo Watch moved outside of China following an announcement in July 2023 and hit the market in September.
In Blighty, you can pick the 41mm model up from Oppo directly or retailers like Amazon for £229, while the 46mm WiFi-only variant arrived a few months later than its smaller counterpart, also available from both Oppo and Amazon, for around £279.
If the cellular 46mm model grabs your fancy instead, it’s available on contract (via OneNumber) with Vodafone, so you can also benefit from phone-free call and texts on plans starting at £17 a month (at the time of writing).Verdict
For Oppo’s first attempt at a smartwatch, the Oppo Watch is something of a tour de force; boasting a premium fit and finish, two sizes, heaps of functionality, great performance and all at a price that doesn’t break the bank.
It’s clear that the company clearly wanted to make an Apple Watch equivalent for its own smartphones and in that it has clearly succeeded, even if its approach lacks originality. Moving to Wear OS is a double-edged sword but with the capable hardware at play, what the Oppo Watch delivers doesn’t feel like a second-class user experience when placed against the competition.
The thing about cliché is that it always contains a grain of uninteresting yet vital truth. The fact that the sky’s blueness is so commonplace as to fade into the background of conscious daily thought, for example, does nothing to negate its value to physics, biology, and beyond. When looking at the state of Web3 through the lens of 2023, the cliche understatement that should come to mind is that progress is not linear. But just how progress makes its nonlinear passage through history matters greatly. It’s a jagged thing – its movement messy and unpredictable, even to those well-accustomed to the volatile and the sporadic.
There was plenty of frenetic movement in the world of crypto and NFTs in 2023. Even those outside Web3’s walls are tired of hearing phrases like “bear market” and “crypto winter.” But just as the idea of zooming out is essential in maintaining a balanced mental health outlook in the NFT ecosystem, so is the idea of placing 2023’s troubles and successes in the context of the broader picture of where Web3 is going. When we do so, we find both things to be excited about and cautious of in the coming year.NFTs went green (kind of)
The conversation surrounding NFTs and their impact on the environment evolved in a primarily positive way this year. An increasing amount of people began to realize that the dire claims made by the blockchain’s biggest detractors were largely overblown and without proper framing.
The biggest event that impacted the environmental discussion was Ethereum’s merge in September. The second-largest blockchain’s switch to a proof-of-stake (PoS) validation system meant it reduced its energy consumption by an absurd 99.5 percent and acted as the final stake in the coffin of the already dubious argument that NFTs were bad for the environment.
Beyond its environmental boon, the merge helped set up Ethereum for future growth. Aside from the millions of NFTs the blockchain authenticates, countless other decentralized apps and decentralized financial systems depend on the blockchain to function. Further upgrades that the merge enables include what Ethereum’s co-founder, Vitalik Buterin calls the “surge, verge, purge, and splurge.” These will ensure the blockchain can scale better in the future and allow for a process called “sharding,” which makes network nodes easier to operate.
Beyond all of this, the merge was a much-needed win in a rough year for the crypto community. Ethereum has long been the poster child of NFTs, and that it executed an exceedingly complex engineering feat so smoothly during a crypto winter is nothing to be scoffed at. Like any industry, blockchain-based tech can do more to reduce its environmental presence, but efforts like the merge have shown that it’s not impossible to do so.The royalties debate rages on
The discussion about creator fees/royalties in the NFT space flared up like never before in 2023. While they have remained a major characteristic of the NFT ecosystem for years, royalties aren’t hard-coded into the market or the individual smart contracts that make the buying, selling, and trading of NFTs possible. As talk centered around the role that creator royalties can, should, and do play in the NFT ecosystem began to heat up throughout the year, zero-royalties websites like sudoswap and X2Y2 emerged on the scene, becoming popular platforms in the process.
I have opened my DMs. If you’re a project founder please message me and I will provide you with a form to register your interest for a group call to discuss the implications of what @opensea is proposing as well as our moves together as leaders in the space.
— BETTY (@betty_nft) November 7, 2023
What’s more, several of the community’s biggest marketplaces that support creator royalties — including Magic Eden and OpenSea — went through an identity crisis regarding whether or not they would honor and enforce them and for which collections these rules would apply. OpenSea stirred the pot more than any other platform, given its size and status in the industry. It initially floated a plan to eliminate royalties enforcement for existing collections before facing severe backlash from the community and abandoning the idea.
Taken together, these events helped catalyze a kind of unionization movement amongst artists and builders in Web3 who vocalize two main points. The first is that Web3 and the platforms that help sustain it today would not be what they are without royalties. Artists create the value that the entire ecosystem thrives off of. Take away the royalties that enable them to continue creating, and the whole setup will likely falter. Secondly, one of the most crucial ideas that Web3 is built upon is artist empowerment. The royalties question is a poignant stress test for that ethos and for those individuals and platforms who have gained fame and fortune on the back of such creator fees.Redemption arcs aren’t just for fiction
Several NFT projects came back from tough situations this year that left them with battered reputations and disgruntled or outright enraged investors. The most egregious offenses to NFT communities resulted in prosecution by the Department of Justice. Still, excluding illegality, a handful of communities once thought dead in the water made surprising comebacks in 2023. DeGods rise to fame, Pudgy Penguins’ clever strategy in leveraging their family-friendly IP to branch out beyond the Web3 world, and Pixelmon’s Lazarus trick all fall under this category.
These projects aren’t just noteworthy in their ability to turn around floor prices and investor attitudes; they show the NFT ecosystem that steady innovation, patience, and commitment still walk the Web3 earth. The world of crypto and NFTs is rampant with scams, and to a degree, cynicism and skepticism are necessary tools to navigate a decentralized space wherein no third party has your back. But like any tool, they can be misused. In the context of a crypto winter, it was refreshing to see such redemption arcs. With any luck, 2023 will see more, and we shouldn’t begrudge them their flowers.Crypto and NFT regulation is changing
The complicated relationship between regulatory bodies in the U.S. and the crypto and NFT sphere became even more convoluted in the wake of events like the fall of the algorithmic stablecoin Terra USD and the calamitous collapse of FTX this year.
While it’s too early to tell precisely how these events will alter regulatory efforts in the U.S. and abroad, the pressure to rein in the crypto space to avoid such meltdowns in the future has only grown because of them. While speaking to nft now in July, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce expressed discontent with how the organization and its Chair, Gary Gensler, had formulated a seemingly punitive relationship with the crypto world rather than a constructive one. 2023, she said, was shaping up to be the year of setting a more cooperative basis for future legislative and regulatory regulation in the space.
However, that hope has dimmed in the wake of events like the fall of FTX. Sentiment within and without the Web3 sphere is divided, with individuals in both spaces attributing FTX’s failure to either an excess or lack of decentralization and oversight. That picture is further complicated by accusations from people like Representative Tom Emmer (R-MN), who has accused Gensler’s relationship with SBF and the crypto world of being problematically close to one another, a vision of things that contrasts starkly with the SEC’s movements this year.
Emmer’s (and other regulatory skeptics’) goal may ultimately be to get federal institutions to cool off oversight efforts in an emerging industry whose pockets run deep but whose reputation has taken hit after hit in 2023. Regardless, expect the ethos of decentralization in crypto to face a robust litmus test in 2023. Likewise, expect bad actors to use the coming (and necessary) conversation surrounding the future of decentralization as a cover to shoehorn in policies that declaw the best aspects of Web3 in the name of protecting the traditional financial structures that stand to lose the most from its continued growth.Web3’s troubles make the space stronger (in the end)
It was impossible for those in the space not to have Web3’s most tried-and-true lessons hammered into them this year. Some of the space’s most significant rug pulls occurred in 2023, sharpening Web3 denizens’ intuitions for the NFT red flags that we all should be well aware of by now.
The collapse of Three Arrows Capital, FTX, and Luna and TerraUSD showed everyone how playing fast and loose with people’s money just isn’t going to turn out well, no matter the amount of Web3 evangelizing going on behind it. The space is having a rough go of things, it’s true, but like an immune system dealing with a particularly potent infection, Web3 will likely come out of the year’s difficulties stronger as a whole precisely because of the challenges they presented it.
Condemn cliché all you like, but nothing worth doing ever came easily to those doing it. If Web3 is as valuable and potentially revolutionary as its most prominent proponents say it is — and it might be, at least in some ways — then we should expect its hardships to be on a scale equal to its ambitions. If they weren’t, it would likely be a sign that we’re not aiming high enough. And who wants to do that?
CES 2023 is going ahead despite in-person event concerns
CES 2023 is set to go ahead in January next year, with the organizers of the huge tech show insisting that it will be able to safely organize an in-person event despite COVID-19. The surprise news comes amid ongoing concerns that the coronavirus pandemic has not been sufficiently dealt with, particularly in the US, where things like social distancing efforts have been patchy.
As a result, we’ve seen multiple companies opt to cancel physical events in 2023. Mobile World Congress axed its Barcelona event at the last moment in February, and numerous auto shows and events have been wiped off the calendar. Google called a halt to I/O 2023 altogether, and Apple is running its WWDC 2023 developer event entirely online.
The Consumer Technology Association – the organizing body for the Consumer Electronics Show – isn’t following suit, however. While it says that CES 2023 will “expand the show’s digital reach” it nonetheless insists that a physical event in Las Vegas, NV, is appropriate.
“We are working closely with the Las Vegas community, including the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and hotels venues, as they develop and implement their re-opening plans,” the CTA said in a statement. “We are also working with leading event industry associations as they develop their best practices. And we will ensure our plans follow the recommendations of public health experts and standards set by the federal, state and local governments.”
Perhaps most challenging, however, will be social distancing. The CTA says it will be “widening aisles in many exhibit areas and providing more space between seats in conference programs and other areas where attendees congregate,” but exactly how feasible that is remains to be seen. At CES 2023, for example, around 170,000 attendees and over 4,400 exhibitors were present, across what the CTA says was more than 2.9 million net square feet of exhibit space.
Crowding is a fact of life at CES, and the event is notorious for its potential for picking up the so-called “CES flu” from others on-site. Even with the best of efforts, a not-insignificant number of people report sickness after the show.
Indeed there have been suggestions that, though it only broke into the public conscious later on, COVID-19 could have been a significant factor at CES 2023 in January. An absence of widespread, consistent track and trace policies in the US has left confirming that almost impossible, however.
It’s unclear at this stage how many companies the CTA expects to sign up for CES 2023. “Major brands are committed for the show,” the organization said, though it has not confirmed any specific names. Many major players in the tech space have sworn off physical events altogether for the moment, while automakers – such a fast-growing presence at CES that it was a significant contributing factor to the Detroit Auto Show rescheduling its annual event from mid-January to the summer – have also put in-person events on hold.
Meanwhile there’s the question of attendees. Some who might ordinarily come to the show each year will undoubtedly question that decision given the ongoing pandemic; others, some stung by only receiving partial refunds at best from hotels and airlines after MWC was cancelled, are likely to hold off until closer to January 2023 to see whether the CTA really does go through with its plans.
For those who do want to attend in person, meanwhile, there are multiple travel factors to consider. International travel is still being disrupted as different countries and regions apply restrictions on who can fly where. Mandatory quarantine periods also add to the complexity, since they could end up bookending a visit to the US with as much as four weeks of self-isolation.
Back in May, the organizers of IFA 2023 – the annual European tech show held in Berlin, Germany – announced a severely modified event for this year. Not only will the public no longer be invited to attend, and the show itself trimmed to just three days in total, IFA will be limited to 1,000 media per day. At the time Messe Berlin, the company responsible for IFA, admitted that it would have a significant impact on financial performance for the show.
Financial compatibility is the measure of how well your income and spending habits match. Being financially compatible can help you avoid long-term financial trouble that prevents you and your partner from reaching your financial goals.
If you’re wondering whether you and your significant other are financially compatible, here are a few benchmarks to use.You’re both getting rid of debt
Also read: Best ecommerce platform in 2023You have the same financial goals
A financially-sound couple works towards achieving the same goals for their relationship. If you think buying a house should be the top priority while your partner thinks it’s better to spend money traveling more, you’re going to have a difficult time keeping your finances in check.You’re supportive of each other’s income streams
There will be times in your relationship where one partner is carrying a heavier load when paying the bills than the other. In a good relationship, the scale will tip to either side at least once but will maintain some balance overall.
If you’re not willing or able to handle the additional burden of financially carrying the relationship temporarily, you could begin to feel like you’re taken for granted and build resentment.
Consequently, partners may start demanding the one earning less make some changes to their job situation to create more financial stability for the family, but this puts more stress on the lower earner.
If you’re both in stable careers, you may never face this issue. But suppose you’re in a relationship with someone with more dynamic finances, such as an entrepreneur or freelancer.
Also read: Top 10 Business Intelligence Tools of 2023You talk about finances openly and often
Couples that hide their finances from one another will end up facing some harsh realities eventually. Don’t let the stigma of shame around money stop you from communicating with your partner about the family’s financial situation.
The relationships that last are built on trust, understanding, and a lack of judgment, so don’t be afraid to talk about your finances, both individual and shared, often.
You’ll begin to realize the undue stress you’ve put on yourself by keeping your money situation a secret and, instead, be able to ensure there are never feelings of resentment or betrayal.You’re both willing to take on the same amount of risk
Also read: Blocked On Snapchat: Figure Out What-To-Do, The Fixes, and FAQsThe bottom line
In conclusion, when it comes to finances, a couple with the same goal-oriented mindset will have a much easier time paying off their debt, avoiding too much spending, and saving for the future.
If you and your partner have different financial goals, it’s time to start talking about your views on money and how they can be better aligned.
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